New Delhi: As many as 16.45 lakh Indians have returned from abroad after the government launched the ''Vande Bharat'' evacuation mission on May 7 in view of the coronavirus pandemic, the Ministry of External Affairs said on Thursday. Ministry of External Affairs spokesperson Anurag Srivastava said phase six has come to an end and under this phase, 894 international flights and 142 feeder flights have been operated from 24 countries reaching 24 airports across India.
He said under phase six, 1.75 lakh people were repatriated. As on 30 September, 16.45 lakh Indians have been repatriated through different modes of the Vande Bharat Mission," he said. "To meet the continued demand, Phase 7 of VBM has been operationalised from October 1, 2020. As of now, 820 international flights have been scheduled from 19 countries to be operated under Phase 7 during the course of this month," Srivastava said at an online media briefing.
These include mainly flights from among the 14 countries with which India has a bilateral 'air bubble' arrangement in place, he said. These flights will reach 24 airports across India, repatriating an estimated 1.5 lakh people, he added.
The ministry has undertaken a further assessment of demand for repatriation from other countries and projected the requirements to Air India, Srivastava said. Flights will be scheduled from these additional stations in the coming days, he said.