The first two Air India repatriation flights carrying a total of 363 Indian nationals, including nearly 10 infants and several elderly people, from the UAE have landed in Cochin and Kozhikode airports respectively.
The flights are part of India’s biggest ever repatriation exercise named ‘Vande Bharat Mission’, which aims to bring back thousands of stranded Indians across the globe due to international travel lockdown on account of Coronavirus pandemic.
Nearly, 15,000 Indians stranded in 12 countries are expected to return to India on special Air India flights over the week, starting from Thursday.
“Mission Vande Bharat begins. First two flights bring home Indian citizens from the UAE,” Civil aviation minister Hardeep Singh Puri tweeted.
External Affairs minister Jaishankar thanked the national carrier Air India and the Civil aviation ministry for the evacuation efforts.
“#TeamIndia will continue with its tireless efforts to bring Indians home,” tweeted External Affairs spokesperson Anurag Srivastava.