Video: Indian Navy Continues Citizen Repatriation Operations

Response team preparing for disembarkation, INS Jalashwa, Kochi, May 17 (Indian Navy)

Published May 17, 2020 3:03 PM by The Maritime Executive

The Indian Navy's amphibs are continuing operations to repatriate stranded Indian nationals from abroad, including citizens remaining in the Maldives. 

The amphib INS Jalashwa entered Kochi harbor on Sunday morning, concluding her second voyage to bring back Indian citizens from the central port of Male in the Maldives. The ship disembarked 588 Indian citizens, including 70 women (of whom six are pregnant) and 21 children at Cochin Port Trust's Samudrika Cruise Terminal.

INS Jalashwa berthed alongside at 1130 hours and was received by personnel from Indian Navy, the port and the state and national governments. Port officials made prior arrangements for streamlining the process of COVID-19 screening and immigration procedures. The civil administration is also providing transportation for the evacuated Indian nationals to their respective districts and states for post-arrival quarantine.

INS Jalashwa embarked this group of citizens at Male on May 15 as part of the Indian government's national effort to facilitate the return of Indian citizens from foreign shores. The ship's scheduled departure was delayed due to poor weather conditions, including heavy rains and strong winds. Cyclone Amphan, which is currently gathering force to the east in the Bay of Bengal, covers such a large area that its outlying wind and rain bands are indirectly affecting conditions in the Maldives. 

This was INS Jalashwa's second repatriation voyage as part of Operation Samudra Setu (Sea Bridge), and it was the Indian Navy's third overall. In the first phase of the operation, the Jalashwa evacuated a total of 698 Indian nationals stranded in the Maldives, including 14 children and 19 pregnant women. The amphib INS Magar conducted a second voyage shorty after, carrying a total of 202 individuals back to Kochi. Meanwhile, the amphib INS Shardul is under way to the UAE, where she will evacuate additional Indian expatriates.