India evacuates over 12,000 people so far under Vande Bharat Mission

New Delhi [India], April 14 (ANI): India has evacuated over 12,000 people so far under the Vande Bharat Mission undertaken by the government for the repatriation of Indian nationals stranded overseas, the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) said.

"On Day 8 of the mission, 56 flights have brought back Indian nationals from 12 countries. In addition, 904 Indians were repatriated from the Maldives by INS Jalashwa and INS Magar early this week. Some others have arrived through deportation flights from various countries. In the last few days, more than 12,000 Indian nationals have safely returned," MEA spokesperson Anurag Srivastava said in a statement.

The Vande Bharat Mission is the largest and most complex exercise ever undertaken by the government for the repatriation of Indian nationals stranded overseas, he said.

"We are working very closely with the Ministries of Civil Aviation, Home Affairs, Health and Family Welfare as well as concerned State governments in this exercise," he added.

India has launched the second phase of Vande Bharat Mission from May 16 to 22. In this phase, India will bring back Indians from 31 countries. Till now, 188,646 Indian nationals have registered to return on the portal.

"149 flights including feeder flights will be deployed. Additional 18 countries covered under the second phase include Indonesia, Thailand, Australia, Italy, France, Germany, Ireland, Canada, Japan, Nigeria, Kazakhstan, Ukraine, Kyrgyzstan, Belarus, Georgia, Tajikistan and Armenia. As you can see, we are broadening the ambit every week in a phased manner keeping with our quarantine capacity, health protocols, etc," said the MEA spokesperson.

As of date, INS Kesari, which departed India on May 10, is presently docked at Male. Currently, 550 tonnes of essential food items sent onboard area being offloaded. (ANI)