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Vande Bharat: Special Evacuation Flight Takes Off From Qatar, Over 5200 Repatriated So Far

As a part of the 'Vande Bharat' Mission, Air India's special evacuation flight carrying 178 passengers, including six infants took off from Qatar for Kerala's Kannur on Monday. Taking to Twitter, the Indian Embassy in Qatar stated that it is the 31st flight from Doha under the repatriation exercise to bring the stranded Indian nationals back home. 

The third phase of the 'Vande Bharat Mission' is a part of the largest repatriation exercise in the world that intends to bring back over two lakh stranded Indian nationals from across the world amid the COVID-19 lockdown. While the third phase started from June 10 and will go on till July 1, the bookings for the same began on June 5. The schedule for the phase has 356 flights, including return services and domestic connections. 

Meanwhile, the Ministry of External Affairs spokesperson Anurag Srivastava on June 11 stated that the Vande Bharat Mission has repatriated a total of 1,65,375 people back to India so far. Srivastava added that 29,034 migrant workers have also returned. 

Earlier phases of 'Vande Bharat' Mission

In a major relief for Indians stranded abroad, the Centre had announced that their travel will be arranged via aircraft and naval ships in a phased manner. The first phase of the mission was set for 7 days starting from May 7 to rescue stranded Indians from over 11 countries including the UAE, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Qatar, Bahrain, Maldives, Singapore, and the US. It brought back around 15,000 Indians back home. 

In the second phase of the mission, the Indian government had said to bring back stranded Indians from around 31 countries from May 16 to 22. However, the government extended the date for the second phase till June 13. More countries were added in the second phase including Finland, South Korea, Belgium, New Zealand, Netherlands, Kenya, Mauritius, Spain, Myanmar, Maldives, Egypt, and Sri Lanka. The second phase brought back nearly 30,000 Indian nationals till May 29. 


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