INS Jalashwa, deployed for “Operation Samudra Setu”, entered Kochi harbour at around 10:00 am on 10 May 2020 with a total of 698 Indian nationals stranded at the Maldives, which included women, elderly people and children.
The ship had sailed from the Maldives, late evening on 08 May 2020 post completion of all embarkation formalities. All necessary measures were taken by the respective teams to ensure safe embarkation with minimal social contact. Adequate care was also taken to cater for the old aged people, pregnant ladies and children in arms during the trip.
All the passengers were handled by trained Indian Navy personnel donning Personal Protective Equipment. The evacuation operation was conducted in accordance with all Standard Operating Procedures (SOP) and guidelines issued by the Government of India.
The passengers were received, by the naval and civil administration authorities present at the Cruise Terminal of Cochin Port Trust, where the ship has berthed. Extensive arrangements have been put in place by the State Government for speedy completion of COVID screening and immigration formalities at the Cruise Terminal.
Glassed counters have been set up at the terminal in accordance with medical protocol for Customs, Immigration, Police, Health department, BSNL and District Administration. In addition, baggage trolleys for the passengers were arranged from Cochin International Airport Limited (CIAL), all aimed at facilitating speedy disembarkation, segregation and completion of all health and medical formalities in an efficient manner.
Image Credits: indiannavy.nic.inINS Jalashwa, based at Visakhapatnam has been at the forefront of similar evacuation efforts of Indian nationals and major Humanitarian Assistance and Disaster Relief (HADR) efforts of the Indian Navy. The ship is designed to carry troops and the facilities onboard were modified for the ongoing evacuation. She is manned by trained medical teams of the Indian Navy, specifically embarked for the ongoing Operation.
The repatriation completed today was the first part of the operation, as a continuation of which, another amphibious ship, INS Magar, based at Kochi left Male today with 202 Indian nationals. This entire exercise is part of Vande Bharat Mission of the Government of India for repatriation of Indian nationals from the Middle East and Maldives in the backdrop of COVID-19 pandemic.
As part of the Government of India outreach amidst the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, Indian Naval Ship Kesari has departed for Maldives, Mauritius, Seychelles, Madagascar and Comoros, to provide Food Items, COVID related Medicines including HCQ Tablets and Special Ayurvedic Medicines with Medical Assistance Teams embarked, on 10 May 2020. This deployment as ‘Mission Sagar’, is in line with India’s role as the first responder in the region and builds on the excellent relations existing between these countries to battle the COVID-19 pandemic and its resultant difficulties.
The deployment is in consonance with the Prime Ministers vision of Security and Growth for All in the Region ‘SAGAR’ and highlights the importance accorded by India to relations with her neighbouring countries and further strengthens the existing bond. The operation is being progressed in close coordination with the Ministries of Defence and External Affairs, and other agencies of the Government of India.
As part of Mission Sagar, Indian Naval Ship Kesari would enter the Port of Male in Republic of Maldives, to provide them 600 tons of food provisions. India and Maldives are close maritime neighbours with strong and extremely cordial defence and diplomatic relations.