Wednesday, June 10, 2020

Vande Bharat Mission: From the hotspot of COVID-19 pandemic in Brazil, young diplomats ensure the departure of Indians

With Phase II of the Vande Bharat Mission nearing the end, stranded Indians from various countries including Brazil have come back home. The Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) in close coordination with the Indian Missions/Posts and other related ministries and state agencies have been meticulously planning their repatriation.

As has been reported earlier, while the repatriation process started with the national aircraft carrier Air India and Indian Naval ships were also sent out to get back stranded India, the government has recently given approval for the non-scheduled commercial flights, chartered flights as well as air ambulances to fly in.
Talking to Financial Express Online, India’s Consul General in Sao Paulo, Amit Kumar Mishra said, “Embassy of India, Brasilia and Consulate General of India, Sao Paulo has facilitated the return of 696 Indians, who were stranded in Brazil due to Covid-19 related travel restrictions. The three repatriation flights were from Sao Paulo to Goa and Mumbai (2 flights).”

According to Mishra, “511 seafarers from two companies, MSC Cruises and Costa Cruises returned to India on two chartered flights on 4 June (Sao Paulo-Mumbai) & 5 June (Sao Paulo-Goa). These seafarers were stranded onboard 5 ships: MSC Seaview, MSC Poesia, MSC Musica, MSC Sinfonia and Costa Fascinosa, stranded at Santos port (Sao Paulo) and Salvador.”
“Qatar Airways chartered flights were arranged by MSC Cruises, and were scheduled after the Government allowed permission for chartered flights repatriating stranded seafarers. Embassy in Brasilia ensured expedited approvals for these flights and Consulate staff facilitated departure formalities for the seafarers at the Sao Paulo airport,” said Mishra.
Other than seafarers, third and final batch of 185 Indians left for India on 8 June 2020. “The Ethiopian Airlines chartered flight (Sao Paulo-Mumbai) was facilitated by the Embassy in Brasilia on payment basis, and flight tickets were purchased by individuals directly from the airlines. The Indians leaving on this flight included short term visa holders, tourists, business persons, professionals, and some rotary exchange students.”
10/06/20 Huma Siddiqui/Financial Express

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