Delhi, Jun 04, 2020: A total of 107,123 Indians stranded across the world have been brought back to the country so far in the first two phases of Vande Bharat Mission, India’s largest repatriation operation.
State-run Air India has so far operated 103 flights in the second phase of Vande Bharat Mission, which began on May 17 and will continue till June 13, external affairs ministry spokesperson Anurag Srivastava said on Thursday, Hindustan Times reported.
“Phase II of Vande Bharat has progressed well…The Indian Navy has also made sorties to bring back returnees from Sri Lanka and the Maldives,” he said.
Around 38,000 Indians are expected to be repatriated during the third phase of Vande Bharat Mission on 337 international flights from 31 countries, including 54 from the US, 24 from Canada, and 11 flights from Nigeria, Egypt, South Africa, Kenya, Seychelles and Mauritius.
The third phase will cover more sectors and create additional hubs in remote regions.
Since the operation started on May 7, a total of 454 flights, including those by foreign carriers, have brought back the stranded Indians. The 107,123 Indians repatriated so far included 17,485 migrant workers, 11,511 students and 8,633 professionals.
More than 32,000 Indians have returned through land border immigration checkpoints from Nepal, Bhutan and Bangladesh.
A total of 348,565 Indians have so far registered with missions abroad to be repatriated on compelling grounds, Srivastava said.
After the Union home ministry issued fresh guidelines on May 24, the process of non-scheduled commercial flights has been streamlined and this resulted in further facilitation of Indians returning by chartered flights and air ambulances.
“There is a significant increase in the number of returnees via land borders too with the finalisation of guidelines in this regard,” he said.