Giving the update for day eight of the ‘Vande Bharat mission’, the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) on Thursday said 12,000 Indian nationals have safely returned until now.
The MEA said it will launch the second phase of the mission from May 16 to 22 May. In the second phase, it plans to bring back Indians from 31 countries, deploy 149 flights, including feeder flights.
The ministry’s official spokesperson said until now 56 flights have brought back Indian nationals from 12 countries. In addition, 904 Indians were repatriated from Maldives by INS Jalashwa and INS Magar on May 10 and 12 respectively. Some others have arrived through deportation flights from various countries.
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The mission was launched on May 7. “The Vande Bharat Mission is the largest and most complex exercise ever undertaken by the government for the repatriation of our nationals stranded overseas,” the spokesperson said.
Additional 18 countries covered under the second phase include Indonesia, Thailand, Australia, Italy, France, Germany, Ireland, Canada, Japan, Nigeria, Kazakhstan, Ukraine, Krgyzstan, Belarus, Georgia, Tajikistan and Armenia.
“As you can see, we are broadening the ambit every week in a phased manner keeping with our quarantine capacity, health protocols, etc. Till now 188,646 Indian nationals have registered to return on the portal,” the spokesperson said.
The entire flight of the Vande Bharat mission can be checked on the MEA website.
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As part of the Mission Sagar, the government has sent Indian naval ships Kesari to the Maldives, Mauritius, Madagascar, Comoros and Seychelles.
These ships have been sent in response to the request for assistance from these countries. It carries on board two medical assistance teams, consignment of Covid related essential medicines and essential food items.
“This is inspired by PM’s vision of Sagar – security and growth for all in the region. This is also in keeping with India’s role as a first responder in the region,” the spokesperson said.
INS Kesari, which departed India on May 10, is currently docked at Male. The 550 tonnes of essential food items sent on board are being off loaded.
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“This gesture has been widely appreciated by the people of the Maldives. The Maldivian president, foreign minister and defence minister have also issued messages commending India’s friendship and assistance for the food security of Maldives during the holy month of Ramadan,” the spokesperson said.