India is all set to begin its largest overseas evacuation of stranded Indian nationals. The operation aims to bring back Indians stranded in various countries due to airspace closure amidst the Covid-19 pandemic, and this operation will be implemented in a phased manner, with the first phase starting this week.
The Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) in India has prepared a chart for evacuation of 14,000 Indian nationals stranded in 13 foreign country via 64 flights during the first week of the operation.
The MEA revealed that an approximate of 14,800 passengers will be evacuated from 13 countries from 7th May. For this, flights from India will fly to Bangladesh, Singapore, Philippines, UK, UAE, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, USA, Oman, Bahrain and Kuwait.
The first day of evacuation will see repatriation of 10 flights with 2300 Indians.
The second day will see 2050 Indian nationals arriving in Kochi, Chennai, Ahmedabad, Mumbai, Delhi and Bengaluru from nine different countries.
On Day 3, about 2050 nationals stranded across the Middle East, Europe, USA and South East Asia are likely to arrive in Kochi, Mumbai, Lucknow and Delhi from 13 countries.
On Day 4 of the plan, the aviation ministry, together with the MEA will evacuate 1850 nationals stranded in eight different countries including the UK, USA and UAE.
Before boarding the evacuation flights, all individuals who are returning to India are required to fill-up forms, and submit a copy at the Health and Immigration Counter on arrival. The passengers will have to mention if they are suffering from cough, fever, diabetes or any respiratory disease.
All passengers would be screened before they are allowed to board flights for their return to India, and only asymptomatic patients will be allowed to travel. During their journey, they will have to follow the protocols issued by the Health Ministry and the Civil Aviation Ministry.
This airlift by the MEA is the largest after the evacuation during the Persian Gulf War, when 170,000 people were evacuated from Kuwait in 1990. Similar evacuations were done in April 2015, when Operation Raahat was launched to evacuate Indians from the war-torn Yemen.