New Delhi: One lakh Indian nationals stranded in 60 countries will be brought back by the end of Vande Bharat Mission phase 2, the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) said on Thursday.
The last date of the second phase of the mission ends on June 13.
A total of 3,08,200 Indians have registered with the missions abroad to come back home amid the Covid-19 pandemic.
So far, 45,216 Indians have returned. These include 8,069 migrant workers, 7,656 students and 5,107 professionals. About 5000 Indians have returned through land border immigration checkpoints from Nepal and Bangladesh, MEA Spokesperson Anurag Srivastava told reporters during a virtual news briefing here.
He also said that the Indian Naval Ships will make four sorties to Iran, Sri Lanka and Maldives to bring back stranded Indians. The Navy has codenamed Operation Samudra Setu.
Last week, the government had added 141 more flights to West Asian countries for the second phase of the Vande Bharat Mission, its massive repatriation programme for citizens stranded abroad because of Covid-19-related travel restrictions.
The second phase of the repatriation programme began on May 16 and will continue till June 13.
“We are also assisting return of stranded Indians from remote locations in Latin America and Caribbean, Africa, and parts of Europe. This is being done by taking advantage of foreign carriers flying to India primarily for evacuation of their nationals,” he said.
Recently, about 300 stranded Indians from Peru, Mexico, Belize, Guatemala, Honduras, Portugal and Netherlands were brought in.
Private airlines have now been included as part of Phase II of Vande Bharat Mission, Mr Srivastava said.
“Chartered flights have also begun to operate and return of our nationals through land borders has commenced. The numbers are expected to go up in the coming days with the permission for chartered flights and more efficient use of quarantine capacity,” the spokesperson said.