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Vande Bharat Mission: Delhi, Kochi Bound Flight From Rome Takes Off With 239 Passengers

As a part of the massive Vande Bharat Mission, the first Vande Bharat flight from Rome has taken off for Delhi and Kochi with 239 passengers on board.

Vande Bharat Mission

As a part of the massive Vande Bharat Mission to repatriate Indian nationals stranded in foreign countries amid the COVID-19 pandemic, the first Vande Bharat flight from Rome has taken off for Delhi and Kochi with 239 passengers on board. The Indian embassy in Italy took to Twitter to post visuals of the Indian nationals departing from Rome for Delhi and Kochi.

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Reenat Sandhu, Indian Ambassador to Italy interacted with the passengers prior to their departure. "It's a matter of great pleasure for us that Vande Bharat Mission from Italy is starting today. I want to thank all those who made it possible. We have got excellent support from Italian authorities. I want to thank authorities in India for this mission," Reenat Sandhu said.

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'Over 20,000 Indians repatriated'

Civil Aviation Minister Hardeep Singh Puri on Thursday affirmed that more than 20,000 Indians have been brought back under the Vande Bharat Mission and many more to follow in the coming days. 

"Under Vande Bharat mission, we have brought back more than 20 thousand of our citizens from various destinations. We have at the same time utilised the outgoing aircraft to carry our citizens who are normally residents abroad, and needed to travel because they have jobs to do and other commitments," Puri said at a press conference. 

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Punjabi folk singer Ginni Mahi also thanked the Indian Embassy before boarding the first flight from Rome under Vande Bharat Mission. "I want to thank the Indian Embassy for the cooperation they extended to us for a month. Today we are going to our homes safely, thank you so much," said the singer.

Indian government launched the first phase of the Vande Bharat Mission on May 7 and the second phase began on May 16. The Centre may rope in private airlines in the third phase which is set to begin after June 13. 

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