Indian Navy has launched “Operation Samudra Setu” (means Sea Bridge) as a part of national effort to repatriate Indian citizens from overseas, Indian Navy announced. Indian Naval Ships Jalashwa (Austin-class amphibious transport dock) and Magar (Magar-class amphibious warfare vessel) are presently enroute to Malè in Maldives to commence evacuation operations. Indian Mission in Maldives is preparing a list of Indian nationals to be evacuated by Naval ships and will facilitate their embarkation after requisite medical screening.
A total of one thousand persons are planned to be evacuated during the first phase, catering for COVID-19 related social distancing norms vis-a-vis the carrying capacity and medical facilities available onboard. The ships have been suitably provisioned for the evacuation operation. The evacuated personnel would be provided the basic amenities and medical facilities during the sea-passage. In view of the unique challenges associated with COVID-19 stringent protocols have also been stipulated.
The evacuated personnel will be disembarked at Kochi in Kerala and entrusted to the care of State authorities. This operation is being progressed in close coordination with Ministries of Defence, External Affairs, Home Affairs, Health and various other agencies of the Government of India and State governments.
According to the domestic press of India, INS Jalashwa will reach Male on May 8 and INS Magar will reach on May 10. The Indian Navy has been directed to make suitable preparations for their evacuation by sea.