120 more flights to repatriate Indians from across the globe

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A total of 687,467 Indian nationals have returned to the country under the Vande Bharat mission as of third week of July. — Courtesy photo
A total of 687,467 Indian nationals have returned to the country under the Vande Bharat mission as of third week of July. — Courtesy photo

NEW DELHI — Some 120 more flights will be repatriating Indians from around the world — including those in the UAE — until July 31, an official of India's government has said.

In a briefing on the phase 4 of the country's Vande Bharat Mission, Anurag Srivastava, spokesperson of India's Ministry of External Affairs (MEA), said the additional flights will be flying from GCC countries, Malaysia, Singapore, the UK, Europe, Kyrgyzstan, and Ukraine.

"With this expansion, this repatriation phase from July 15 until the end of this month now has 751 international flights, catering to 34 airports in India," Srivastava was quoted by WAM news agency as saying.

International arrivals will be supplemented by feeder flights from international airports to domestic airports in different states, taking the total to 926 in the fourth phase.

The official said 687,467 Indian nationals have returned under the Vande Bharat mission as of this week. Earlier this month, the MEA said the highest number of repatriations came from the UAE, based on the tally until the end of June.

Srivastava said "air bubbles" with several countries, in addition to the ongoing ones, are under negotiation. These will include some countries in the GCC area. "This would help the movement of people between these countries and India until international air travel is restored to normalcy."

Air bubbles are flights outside of scheduled commercial services, which are being negotiated by India worldwide in view of the extraordinary circumstances created by COVID-19.

The spokesperson hinted that there could be no phase 5 for the repatriation mission — as a vast majority of Indian citizens, who had registered with Indian embassies across the world, are expected to have returned home by July 31. — Agencies


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