'Over 1.65 lakh stranded Indians repatriated under Vande Bharat Mission'

New Delhi [India], June 11 (ANI): A total of 1,65,375 people have returned, including 29,034 migrant workers under Vande Bharat Mission, said Ministry of External Affairs spokesperson Anurag Srivastava on Thursday.

He added that the rate of repatriation will see a rise in June.

"A total of 1,65,375 people have returned, including 29,034 migrant workers, 12,774 students and 11,241 professionals. The rate of repatriation will be more in June," said Srivastava during an online press briefing.

"Apart from Air India flights, repatriation has also been arranged through other streams like Indian naval vessels which have brought back our nationals from Sri Lanka, the Maldives and Iran through foreign carriers coming to India to pick up nationals from other countries, through chartered flights and from land borders. As part of the Vande Bharat Mission, the INS Shardul has returned to Gujarat from Iran carrying 233 stranded Indian nationals," he added.

Srivastava said that under the third phase of Vande Bharat Mission, 432 international flights from 43 countries will be reaching 17 states and UTs.

"In this phase, we also have 29 flights from private carriers, 24 IndiGo flights from GCC (Gulf Cooperation Council) countries and from Malaysia, 3 GoAir flights from GCC countries and two Vistara flights from Singapore," he said.

India has arranged six flights to bring back the stranded Indians from Africa and flights have been arranged from six countries. "Besides, the number of flights from the US and Canada has also been increased given the huge demand. There are 53 flights from the US and 24 flights from Canada. There are 170 flights from GCC countries. We would also have 16 flights each from Paris and Frankfurt which are to be used as hubs in Europe," the spokesperson said.

Srivastava said that the third phase of the Vande Bharat mission has widened the reach by including more countries, increasing the number of entry points and by expanding the number of connecting flights.

He stated that INS Kesari, which had been shipped to deliver COVID-related medical supplies and food to Maldives, Mauritius, Madagascar, Comoros and Seychelles, is now on its way to Mauritius and then to Comoros.

"From Comoros, INS Kesari will re-embark the two deployed medical assistance teams and then will head back to India," Srivastava further said. (ANI)