The next phase of Operation ‘Samudra Setu’ by the Indian Navy to repatriate Indian citizens from overseas has started from Sunday. The Indian Naval Ship Jalashwa departed Colombo, Sri Lanka on Sunday late evening after having embarked 685 Indian nationals and set course for the port of Tuticorin in Tamil Nadu. The Indian Navy Spokesperson, Commander Vivek Madhwal, told The Daily Guardian, “Samudra Setu, meaning ‘Sea Bridge’ was launched by the Indian Navy last month as part of the national effort to repatriate Indian citizens from overseas.
The assigned ships have been specially provisioned for this operation. All personnel embarked would be provided the basic amenities & medical facilities during the sea passage.” INS Jalashwa, on her third trip as part of Indian Navy’s Operation Samudra Setu under the aegis of Mission Vande Bharat launched by the Indian government has been engaged in bringing Indian nationals home from foreign shores by the sea route.
INS Jalashwa entered the port of Colombo yesterday morning and began embarkation of Indian citizens, who were already registered with the Indian High Commission in Colombo at the East Container Terminal. All the people were screened medically, allotted IDs and their baggage sanitised before boarding the ship. The 685 people embarked include 553 men, 125 women and 7 children. They have been accommodated onboard the ship within specially earmarked zones to ensure proper quarantine during the voyage.
Other social distancing, disinfection and safety protocols are also being strictly adhered to buy the ship’s crew. This is the second phase of Operation ‘Samudra Setu’ to repatriate Indian citizens from overseas that has started from 1st June 2020. In this phase, INS Jalashwa has been tasked to repatriate almost 700 people from Sri Lanka to Tuticorin, Tamil Nadu and subsequently repatriate another 700 personnel from Maldives to Tuticorin.
The Indian Navy has already repatriated 1,488 Indian nationals from Malè to Kochi during the previous phase of operations.Indian Missions in Sri Lanka and Maldives have already prepared a list of Indian nationals to be evacuated and will facilitate their embarkation after requisite medical screening. All the COVID-related social distancing norms have been catered onboard and evacuees would be provided basic amenities and medical facilities during the sea-passage.
INS Jalashwa is expected to arrive Tuticorin today. After disembarkation of personnel being brought from Sri Lanka at Tuticorin the evacuated personnel will be handed over to the state authorities. Since this operation by the Indian Navy has multiple dimensions attached to it, it is being progressed in close coordination among Ministries of External Affairs, Home Affairs, Health and various other Indian government ministries and state government