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New Delhi, May 8, 2020
Indian Naval Ship (INS) Jalashwa sailed out from Male for Kochi in Kerala on Friday night with 698 Indians stranded in the Maldives due to the lockdown imposed to contain the spread of the deadly coronavirus.
The evacuation of Indian nationals from the Maldives is part of the Samudra Setu operation launched by the Indian Navy to repatriate stranded Indians from different countries.
Out of 698 Indian citizens, 595 are male and 103 are female, including 19 pregnant women. Navy medical teams are constantly taking care of them.
The ship had reached Male port on Thursday.
Before the passengers embarked, the ship was completely sanitised and thereafter all the stranded citizens were put through a medical check-up. Their baggage was also sanitised at the port.
Indian Navy was tasked to evacuate stranded Indian nationals from the Maldives as part of phase one of Samudra Setu. Indian Naval Ships Jalashwa and Magar headed to Male on May 5.
A total of 14 ships have been kept ready to bring stranded citizens from Gulf countries and out of them, two sailed out early on May 5 .
These ships have made arrangements as per the standard protocol laid out to deal with suspected COVID patients like social distancing and sanitisation. Indian Navy has removed non-essential equipment from the vessels in order to accommodate the evacuees.
Further, INS Shardul attached to Southern Naval Command has also been engaged and it is to bring stranded citizens from Dubai.
Besides, naval ships also have sailed with food grains, medical teams, and medicines to Indian Ocean Region (IOR) countries and they will evacuate Indians during return journey.
INS Kesari has proceeded on deployment to the southern Indian Ocean Region from May 6 till June 29. The ship will visit Madagascar, Comoros, the Maldives and Seychelles, and deliver 10-12 tonnes of medicines each to all these countries.
It will also provide 660 tonnes of food grains to the Maldives. Medical teams comprising of 14 personnel (eight doctors and six paramedics) and 13 personnel (four doctors and nine paramedics) have been dispatched to Mauritius and Comoros, respectively.
INS Magar has also sailed to Maldives and is on the way to Male.
The INS Airawat and INS Shardul are likely to proceed to Gulf region for the evacuation of Indian nationals.
The Indian Navy has carried out similar evacuation operations from overseas on earlier occasions, as part of Operation Sukoon, from Lebonon, in 2006 and Operation Rahat, in Yemen, in 2015.