COVID-19: INS Jalashwa repatriates nearly 700 Indians stranded in Sri Lanka

Colombo, Jun 2 (PTI) Nearly 700 Indian nationals stranded in Sri Lanka due to the international travel restrictions sailed back home from the country on an Indian Navy warship, the Indian High Commission here said.

The voyage of the Indian Navy Ship INS Jalashwa is in the series of Operation Samudra Setu, an exercise in which Indian Naval Ships have been deployed to bring back stranded Indians abroad under the Vande Bharat Mission.

The Indian Naval Ship made the voyage from Colombo Port to Tuticorin in Tamil Nadu on June 1, it said.

'The ship has sailed to Tuticorin in the Indian state of Tamil Nadu with nearly 700 stranded Indian nations from Sri Lanka,' the commission said.

The Indian High Commission on May 29 arranged the first flight repatriating 176 Indians stranded in Sri Lanka during the COVID-19 lockdown. The flight took off for Mumbai, Bhubaneswar and Kolkata.

Under 'Operation Samudra Setu', the Indian Navy had repatriated nearly 1,500 Indian nationals from the Maldives in two phases in its vessels--INS Jalashwa and INS Magar on May 10, May 12 and May 17.

Sri Lanka has so far recorded 1,643 coronavirus cases, out of which 10 lives have been lost. The lockdown restrictions have been eased considerably and businesses are functioning under health guidelines.

This is INS Jalashwa's second voyage to Sri Lanka. On May 30, 2017 the Navy warship was rushed to Sri Lanka with rescue teams and relief material to assist the Sri Lanka Navy in flood relief operations. PTI CORR AMS AKJ AMS