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Indian Navy Launches 'Operation Samudra Setu' To Repatriate Indians From Maldives

As part of the Centre's plan to repatriate stranded Indians abroad, the Indian Navy on Tuesday launched 'Operation Samudra Setu.'

Indian Navy

As part of the Centre's plan to repatriate stranded Indians abroad, the Indian Navy on Tuesday launched 'Operation Samudra Setu.' Naval ships Kalashwa and Magar are presently en route port of Male, Maldives to commence evacuation operation from May 8 as a part of the Phase-1. 

The Indian Navy has told ANI that evacuated personnel will be disembarked at Kochi port in Kerala and entrusted to care of state authorities. The operation Samudra Setu is bring progressed in close coordination with Ministries of Defence, External Affairs, Home Affairs, Health and various other agencies of the government of India and state governments, the Indian Navy said.

The Centre is also set to operate flights to repatriate stranded Indians across the globe. The first phase of evacuation by air shall begin on May 7. However, the Centre has clarified that individuals will be charged for the travel. 

READ | MHA Issues SOP For Evacuation Of Indian Nationals Stranded Abroad, Priority To Distressed

Earlier in the day, Joint Secretary of the Home Ministry Punya Srivastava highlighted that individuals will be screened before boarding the flight and only asymptomatic travellers will be allowed. Upon arrival, they will be screened by the concerned state authorities and then sent to home or institutional quarantine. COVID-19 tests would be conducted after 14 days of the quarantine period. 

READ | Coronavirus Live Updates

Centre to run flights for 1 week

The flight plan for repatriation of Indians stranded in foreign countries due to COVID-19 pandemic has been accessed by Republic TV on Tuesday. As per sources, the mega rescue operation has been scheduled for a whole week starting from May 7. According to the schedule, one the first day, around 2000 Indians from various countries like UAE, Malaysia, Saudi Arabia, Singapore will be rescued.

READ | Indian Airlines Submit Evacuation Plan To Centre To Bring Back Citizens Stranded Abroad

Sources added that Civil Aviation Minister Hardeep Singh Puri will address a press conference at 3 pm on Tuesday to share more details about the rescue operation. This development comes after the Centre on Monday announced that the travel for stranded Indians will be arranged via aircraft and naval ships in a phased manner. It added that the Indian High Commissions and embassies are preparing a list of distressed Indian citizens. However, it clarified that this facility is available on payment-basis and will begin in a phased manner on May 7.

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