The Indian Navy is set to bring back over 1,800 citizens currently stranded in the Maldives amid coronavirus lockdown. According to reports, the Indian Navy has deployed two warships - INS Jalashwa and INS Magar under the operation named 'Samundra Setu', which will make four trips to bring back stranded Indian back from the Maldives.
The operation is part of the Vande Bharat Mission, which is being termed as the biggest evacuation mission to be carried out by a country in modern history. As per reports, the mission will see the evacuation of over 14,000 Indians by air and sea from 12 different countries.
According to reports, a total of 698 Indians were evacuated by INS Jalashwa from Male on Friday as part of the operation Samundra Setu. India’s High Commissioner in the Maldives, Sunjay Sudhir thanked the Indian Navy and the government of the Maldives for the success of the first part of the mission. He further said that 200 Indians on Sunday will leave for Tamil Nadu from the Maldives on INS Magar.
Bon Voyage!— India in Maldives (@HCIMaldives) May 8, 2020
#INSJalashwa departs from Malé port for Kochi with 698 Indian nationals on board.#MissionVandeBharat
Operation #SamudraSetu @MEAIndia @PMOIndia @DrJaishankar @MOS_MEA @harshvshringla @indiannavy pic.twitter.com/YjaxMNgzRl
Both INS Jalashwa and INS Magar are equipped with proper PPE kits with medical and administrative support staff to provide care to people onboard. Many stranded Indians will also be brought back from countries such as the United Kingdom, the United States, Singapore, Bangladesh, the United Arab Emirates, and Saudi Arabia among others.
Air India will be operative flights from Riyadh, London, San Fransisco, Washington DC, Singapore between May 8 to 14. The cost of travel by air will have to be borne by passengers, the external affairs ministry said. Most flights with evacuated Indians will land in cities like Mumbai, Delhi, Hyderabad, Bengaluru, Kochi, and Chennai. India also holds the previous record for the largest civilian evacuation in the world, when it brought back over 1,70,000 Indians from Kuwait during the first gulf war.
(Image Credit: @HCIMaldives/Twitter)