Indian Navy had launched Operation Samudra Setu to repatriate Indian citizens commencing 08 May 2020. Indian Naval ships Jalashwa and Magar have already evacuated 2874 personnel from Maldives and Sri Lanka to ports of Kochi and Tuticorin.
In the next phase of Samudra Setu, Indian Naval Ship Shardul will evacuate Indian citizens on 08 June 2020 from the port of Bandar Abbas, Islamic Republic of Iran, to Porbandar, Gujarat. The Indian Mission in Islamic Republic of Iran is preparing a list of Indian citizens to be evacuated and will facilitate their embarkation after requisite medical screening.
COVID-related social distancing norms have been catered onboard INS Shardul and the ship has been specially provisioned for the evacuation operation, including embarkation of additional medical staff, doctors, hygienists, nutritionists, medical stores, rations, personal protective equipment, face-masks, lifesaving gear etc. In addition to authorised medical outfit, medical equipment specific to dealing with COVID-19 including innovative products developed by the Indian Navy during the ongoing COVID-19 crisis is also being carried onboard.
The evacuated personnel would be provided the basic amenities and medical facilities whilst undertaking the sea-passage to Porbandar. Special isolation compartments have also been earmarked for any contingencies. In view of the unique challenges associated with COVID-19 including asymptomatic carriers, stringent protocols are being stipulated during the passage.
After disembarkation at Porbandar, the evacuated personnel will be entrusted to the care of State authorities. Meanwhile The Government of India in these difficult times is providing assistance to Friendly Foreign Countries in dealing with the COVID-19 pandemic and towards the same INS Kesari is carrying a consignment of COVID related essential medicines for the people of Seychelles.
An official ceremony for handing over the medicines from the Government of India to Government of Seychelles was held on 07 June 2020. Secretary of state for Foreign Affairs, H.E Ambassador Barry Faure and Secretary of State for Health, H.E Ambassador Marie Pierre Lloyd, represented the Government of Seychelles at the ceremony. The Indian side was represented by the High Commissioner of India to Seychelles, H.E General Dalbir Singh Suhag PVSM, UYSM, AVSM, VSM (Retd) and the Second Secretary to HCI, Mr Ashwin Bhaskaran.
The assistance to Seychelles is a part of the Government of India outreach amidst the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. ‘Mission Sagar’ builds on the excellent relations existing between the two countries to battle the COVID-19 pandemic and its resultant difficulties. The deployment also resonates the vision of our Prime Minister of Security and Growth for All in the Region ‘SAGAR’ and highlights the importance accorded by India to relations with the countries in the IOR. The operation is being progressed in close coordination with the Ministry of External Affairs, and other agencies of the Government of India.