Friday, June 12, 2020

Vande Bharat Mission and Operation Samudra Setu: Phase III of Repatriation begins, More stranded Indians coming back

Phase III of the Vande Bharat Mission has started and this will go on till July 2, during which the Ministry of External Affairs in close coordination with other ministries and state agencies has plans to organize 432 flights to bring back citizens 43 countries and will be reaching 17 States & Union Territories. In the Phase III the number of entry points has been increased and this has been possible by expanding on the number of connecting flights. The hub and spoke model is being used at both ends.

Responding to queries, the official spokesperson of MEA, Anurag Shrivastava said that “So far in the first two phases of the mission, more than 1, 65, 375 Indians returned home. Now, in Phase III besides the Air India, there will be 29 flights of private airlines, including 24 IndiGo (GCC, Malaysia); 3 GoAir (GCC) and 2 Vistara (Singapore).”
The number of flights which also include private airlines has been increased keeping the growing demand of the Indians who are still stuck in faraway lands. Besides ramping up the repatriation operations from Africa where six flights have been arranged, keeping in mind the huge demand from the US and Canda more flights are going to be sent.

“There will be around 53 flights from the US, and 24 flights from Canada and also 16 flights each from Paris and Frankfurt which are to be used as hubs in Europe. And there are going to be 170 flights from GCC countries.”

According to the official spokesperson the numbers of Indians who have returned include: 29034 migrant workers; 12774 students and 11241 professionals. Also, around 61000 Indians have returned through land border immigration checkpoints from Nepal, Bhutan and Bangladesh.

So far the Indian Missions & Posts have registered 399081 for repatriation to India on compelling grounds.
Has India helped stranded foreigners?
Yes. Before the global restrictions, India had evacuated 2468 Indian nationals and 48 foreigners from the most affected areas from February to April 2020. Also, 99,000 foreign nationals from different cities of India have been evacuated to 113 countries.
12/06/20 Huma Siddiqui/Financial Express
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