Vande Bharat Mission – The Largest ‘Ghar Wapsi’ mission in the history of Mankind !!

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There is a famous saying, ‘Extraordinary circumstances require Extraordinary measures’, PM Modi led Indian Government has epitomized this saying and have clinched an achievement, which is unparalleled in the history of the Mankind.

Yes, we are talking about Vande Bharat Mission, which has been started by Indian Government amid global Corona Virus pandemic, to evacuate our citizens from different countries across the world, as most of the countries instilled complete lockdowns and put travel restrictions into place.

COVID-19 (Corona Virus) was first identified in the city of Wuhan, Hubei, China in mid-December 2019. It was spreading like a wildfire that within few days, several thousand people in Wuhan were infected, and the Chinese Government had to impose strict containment measures, including a lockdown of Wuhan itself.

Once the strict lockdown was imposed in China, Modi Government started mulling options to bring back the Indians stranded in China. Few Air India flights flew to Wuhan to evacuate Indian citizens, particularly students, stranded there. At the same time, cases were spiked in Italy and Iran, the latter country of which some haj pilgrims had been stuck in, Indian Government started efforts to evacuate Indians from Milan and Iranian cities. These flights were free for passengers.

Between February and April, Indian Government evacuated total of 2,468 Indians and 48 foreigners were evacuated from areas severely affected by COVID-19. The government also facilitated the evacuation of more than 99,000 foreigners to 113 countries from India in the same duration. However, by April, Indian Government realized that this it must orchestrate a massive mission, as most of the countries had imposed lock-downs and Indians were stranded without basic supplies and medical stuff in several countries.

On 7th May, the Modi government launched Vande Bharat Mission to repatriate Indians who had been stranded around the globe because of COVID-19-related restrictions. The initial phases of the programme was mostly focused on West Asian countries, which are home to some 8 million expatriates.

A Strict Standard Operating Protocol (SOP) formulated

Indian Government consulted with several experts and formulated a strict Standard Operating Protocol (SOP) to carry out this evacuation plan.

1. Only asymptomatic passengers would be allowed to travel.

2. State governments are being advised to make arrangements, including for testing, quarantine and onward movement of the returning Indians in their respective States.

3. The evacuation will only be on “compelling grounds” and will be done via planes and naval ships on payment basis and non-scheduled commercial flights would be arranged for air travel.

4. During the evacuation, all health protocols like social distancing norms will have to be followed.

5. The evacuees after reaching their destination would have to register on the Aarogya Setu app which has been developed to alert about the novel coronavirus.

6. After being medically screened, passengers will be quarantined for 14 days in a hospital or in an institutional quarantine on payment-basis by the state governments, followed by the COVID-19 test by end of the given period.

Modi Government deployed massive Resources for Vande Bharat Mission

Government has deployed hundreds of Air India or Air India Express flights. Besides Air India, private carriers like Indigo, Go Air and Vistara joined the government’s mission and have sent many flights to neighboring countries and middle east nations to bring back the stranded Indians. Indian Airforce also supported this mission by deploying its C-17 Globemaster planes for evacuation. Indian Navy also joined the mission and deployed INS Jalashwa, INS Magar and several other Warships to Sri Lanka, Maldives, Iran and Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) countries to bring back Indian citizens.

Some Indians also returned on flights operated by foreign carriers coming to India to evacuate their citizens while more came back on chartered flights. Apart from that more than 1,00,000 Indians have also returned through land border immigration checkpoints from Nepal, Bhutan and Bangladesh via cross-border bus service. Government has deployed Medical teams and other logistic resources at every checkpoint to ensure all the COVID protocols are being followed and utmost care of people has been taken. ITBP has setup a Multiple quarantine Centers for evacuees in different part of India with hundreds of beds.

Setup of a 24*7 Control Room

The mammoth operation is being monitored from the Ministry of External Affairs’s COVID-19 Control Room. It has received several Lakh Phone calls and emails till date. MEA is also assisting stranded Indians with their VISA and Passport queries and assisting them with quick resolution of their concerns.

MEA COVID Control Room – The telephone numbers of the Control Room are 1800118797 (toll free), +91-11-23012113, +91-11-23014104 and +91-11-23017905, Fax number – +91-11-23018158 and email : covid19@mea.gov.in.

Largest evacuation mission in the history of the Mankind

Till 8 July, Indian Government has evacuated 5,03,990 lakh Indians stranded in 137 countries and brought back to the country through Vande Bharat Mission (VBM) in less than two months. This is indeed a colossal effort by any possible means. The registered number of evacuees under Vande Bharat mission has officially crossed the previous record held by the 1990 Airlift Mission of Indians from Kuwait after the invasion of the country by Iraq.

We would like to appreciate the Indian Government for carrying out this massive mission to safeguard the interests of our People stranded in other countries. It need not only resources and funds, but a resolve to take care of every single Indian living in any corner of this World, and seems this is the policy of Modi Government right from the Day 1, they will never leave any Indian in misery. Indian government’s efforts have instilled the confidence in every Indian that they will be looked after, come what may.

Our readers can take further information about the current phases of Vande Bharat Mission and information about the Flights being operated in different parts of the World at this URL.

https://www.mea.gov.in/vande-bharat-mission-list-of-flights.htm

Source of Information – Ministry of External Affairs, Ministry of Civil Aviation

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