By Staff writer
Vande Bharat Mission has so far brought back 364,209 Indians from over 50 countries across five continents
The massive Indian repatriation effort is set to turn its attention to those stranded in the Gulf this week.
The Vande Bharat Mission (VBM), which is in its seventh week, has so far brought back 364,209 Indians from over 50 countries across five continents.
Phase four of the programme is to focus on the Gulf, where a large number of expatriates have registered with Indian embassies to take advantage of special repatriation flights.
"We are committed to bringing back our remaining compatriots, particularly in the GCC countries, Malaysia, Singapore, among other places," Anurag Srivastava, spokesperson for India’s Ministry of External Affairs, told a media briefing.
"In order to continue with our efforts, phase four of Vande Bharat Mission has been firmed up with effect from 3rd July. This phase will particularly focus on countries where we still have a large number of Indians who have registered to return," he added.
The Indian government’s repatriation drive, said to be the biggest ever, began on May 7. According to reports, 83,000 Indians have been repatriated through Air India and chartered flights of other airlines. Of these, 54,000 have been flown home on charter flights and 29,000 on VBM flights.
"Demand for these flights remains very high, especially in the Gulf region and, therefore, we are moving to further streamline the process," Srivastava added.