India plans to bring back home it's one lakh stranded students from 60 countries before the end of the second phase under Vande Bharat Mission. The mission's second phase was to end on May 22. The government did, however, extend it until June 13.
"We are targeting to bring back 1,00,000 passengers from 60 countries by the end of Phase II of Vande Bharat Mission. Preparations for the third phase are well underway," Ministry of External Affairs said on Thursday.
"As of today, 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", says MEA.
Approximately 3,08,200 Indians registered with missions abroad to return home amid the Covid-19 pandemic. The navy will bring back stranded Indians in four trips to Sri Lanka, the Maldives and Iran.
Foreign Minister S Jaishankar held a meeting with all the agencies and ministries involved in the mega evacuation exercise on Tuesday.
The government added 141 more flights to West Asian countries last week for the second phase of the Vande Bharat Mission, its massive repatriation program for citizens stranded abroad because of travel restrictions related to COVID-19.
The flights were added as a result of increased demand from citizens stranded in western Asian countries and the availability of adequate quarantine facilities in the states for returning Indians. As with all the flights operated so far under the Vande Bharat Mission, priority in the second phase would also be given to Indian nationals with valid reasons for returning to the country.
The second phase of the repatriation program started on May 16 and will continue until June 13.