Mammoth Vande Bharat mission set to bring Indians from 7 countries today
As the second phase of Corona lockdown got over, India’s Ministry of External Affairs initiated the process to expatriate thousands of Indian nationals stuck in several countries.
The operation named Mission Vande Bharat, one of the largest repatriation missions in recent history, is using Air India flights and naval ships to bring back Indians. The repatriation began on 7 May.
The first flight to arrive brought back 181 people from Abu Dhabi to Kochi on 7 May. Another 182 people came from Dubai.
Today, 9 May 2020, hundreds of Indians stranded in Bangladesh, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, UAE, the UK, and Malaysia are going to arrive in different Indian cities.
In the first phase of repatriation from 7-13 May, citizens from Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Qatar, Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Philippines, Singapore, Malaysia, Bangladesh, the UK, and the US. In this phase, 64 flights are going to bring back 15,000 stranded Indians.
In addition to this, INS Jalashwa is bringing back at least 750 people from the Maldives. Indian Navy has named this mission Operation Samudra Setu. Reports add that as many as 30 aircrafts belonging to the Indian Air Force (IAF) and 11 naval ships are on standby to rescue people.
Countries have undertaken this repatriation of their nationals from different parts of the world who were stuck following the suspension of air travel due to the COVID pandemic.
These repatriations are paid and have been organized as per the central government’s SOP. All crew members and passengers will wear protective gear.
Once they land in Indian cities, the returnees have to undergo tests and quarantine. Downloading the Aarogya Setu app and feeding their details in mandatory. District administration and local health authorities will coordinate their quarantining.
Most of the returnees include migrant labours, tourists, people who were on a short term visa, students, elderlies, pregnant women, and those with a medical emergency.
While this mammoth repatriation has been praised, at the same observers have criticized that the government is not undertaking equal measures to bring back migrant labourers. The latter were stuck in cities during the lockdown. After the second lockdown, the government has started special trains to bring back migrants labourers from cities like Bangalore, Hyderabad.