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New Delhi:

 
Indian Naval Ship Jalashwa left Male port in the Maldives for Kochi with 588 Indian citizens on Saturday morning. The exercise to bring back the citizens is part of phase two of operation Samudra Setu which is the repatriation of Indian nationals from foreign shores by sea.

Indian nationals are returning home as they were stranded due to the lockdown enforced by the government to contain the spread of Coronavirus.

The ship entered the Male port on May 15 and started embarkation of Indian citizens who had already registered with the Indian embassy in the Maldives. This is the second trip of INS Jalashwa. It was to depart for Kochi on May 15 night but due to bad weather, the ship left on Saturday morning.

Earlier, INS Jalashwa successfully brought 698 Indian nationals to Kochi on May 12. Thereafter, the ship proceeded for preparatory activities towards phase two of the evacuation operation which included disinfection and sanitisation of the entire ship with special attention to the areas occupied by the previous set of repatriated citizens.

In the meantime, another Indian Naval Ship Magar also brought back 202 Indian nationals, which included 23 women and three children, from the Maldives on May 12. The ship had sailed from the Maldives on May 10.

The repatriation was conducted in accordance with standard operating procedure (SOP) prepared by the central government, factoring all possible contingencies.

All precautions for infection control on ships, in conjunction with isolation and quarantine protocols for crew were ensured.

In addition to it as part of the Indian government outreach amidst the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, Indian Naval Ship Kesari departed for Maldives, Mauritius, Seychelles, Madagascar and Comoros, to provide food items, COVID related medicines, including Hydroxychloroquine tablets and special ayurvedic Medicines with medical assistance teams.

This deployment as ‘Mission Sagar’, is in line with India’s role as the first responder in the region and builds on the excellent relations existing between these countries to battle the COVID-19 pandemic and its resultant difficulties.

“The deployment is in consonance with the Prime Minister’s vision of Security and Growth for All in the Region ‘SAGAR’ and highlights the importance accorded by India to relations with her neighbouring countries and further strengthens the existing bond,” Navy Spokesperson Commander Vivek Madhwal said.

He said that the operation is being progressed in close coordination with the Ministries of Defence and External Affairs, and other agencies of the government.

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