Over 500,000 Indians returned under Vande Bharat Mission, highest to Kerala

Stranded Indian nationals arrive to board a special Air India flight from Paris Charles de Gaulle airport for Kochi, in Paris
As many as 503,990 stranded Indians have returned safely to India from 137 countries in less than two months under the Vande Bharat Mission, the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) said on Friday. Flight operations started under the mission on May 7.

With 94,085 returning to the state, Kerala received the largest number of stranded Indians.  It was followed by Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Tamil Nadu, West Bengal, Maharashtra, Karnataka, Gujarat and Andhra Pradesh.

The largest number of stranded Indians who returned by Vande Bharat Mission flights are from UAE at 57,305, followed by Kuwait, Qatar, Oman, Saudi Arabia and the US. From Nepal, 91,193 have returned through land border check posts.

Considering that the initial target to bring stranded Indians with compelling reasons was only 200,000, this is a significant achievement, the MEA said.

The Vande Bharat Mission involved 860 Air India flights; 1256 charter flights and 8 naval ships.

The MEA said 164,121 stranded Indians returned by Air India; 3,987 in 8 naval ships from the Maldives, Iran and Colombo; 230,832 in chartered flights; and 3,969 in foreign carriers. About 60 Indians returned in air ambulances and 95,220 through land border check-posts from neighbouring countries.

“This massive operation was carried out with the active support and cooperation of Indian Missions abroad, Ministry of Civil Aviation, Ministry of Health and Family Welfare and state governments. MEA designated senior officers as state coordinators were in the forefront of these operations ensuring smooth coordination at all levels,” the MEA said.

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