A further 156 Indian nationals stranded in Sri Lanka were repatriated on a special Air India (AI 1202) flight from Colombo to Kochi and Bengaluru on 15 June.
The flight was scheduled as part of phase III of ‘Vande Bharat Mission’ a Government of India initiative to undertake the largest ever repatriation from all over the world for return of Indian nationals stranded abroad due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
High Commissioner of India Gopal Baglay met the Indian nationals at the Bandaranaike International Airport and bid them a safe journey. He expressed happiness at their return to their homeland. He thanked the Government and people of Sri Lanka for their cooperation in the repatriation of stranded Indian nationals from Sri Lanka.
The Indian nationals who were stranded in Sri Lanka due to restrictions on international travel because of the COVID-19 pandemic expressed their happiness at going home. Over 1,000 Indian nationals have been repatriated from Sri Lanka so far including this flight through a special Air India Flight on 29 May, Indian Naval Ship Jalashwa which made a voyage from Colombo to Tuticorin on 1 June and through various charter flights.
The next special flight from Sri Lanka Air India AI 0282 from Colombo to Delhi – Lucknow – Gaya is scheduled on 22 June. Based on the registrations received by the High Commission of India, a passenger manifest has been prepared for these travels/voyages. Priority is being given to compelling cases in distress, including migrant workers/labourers who have been laid off, short term visa holders faced with expiry of visa, people with medical emergency/pregnant women/elderly, those required to return to India due to death of family member, and students as stated in the Standard Operating Procedure issued by Ministry of Home Affairs, Government of India.
Those stranded Indian nationals who have not yet registered with the High Commission may kindly do so on the following link: https://hcicolombo.gov.in/COVID_helpline. All stranded Indian nationals are urged to be patient and follow the updates on the High Commission’s website and social media.
The third phase of Vande Bharat Mission is underway and will continue till 2 July. The success of Vande Bharat Mission is through the joint effort of Ministry of Civil Aviation, Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, Ministry of Home Affairs, Ministry of External Affairs, Indian Diplomatic and Consular Missions across the world, as well as State Governments in India. So far, over 165,000 Indian nationals have been repatriated to India from under the Mission since 7 May.