New Delhi: The Narendra Modi government is planning a massive evacuation operation of Indians stranded in Gulf countries, involving the Navy, Indian Air Force (IAF) and Air India, after 3 May, ThePrint has learnt.
Sources said that the operation is still in its planning stage, and no formal decisions have been taken. However, the evacuation will take place only after 3 May, when the nationwide lockdown is scheduled to end.
The major logistical issues is not just the evacuation of Indians abroad but also the subsequent quarantine process that must be followed.
Sources said defence forces as well as central armed police forces and state governments concerned are being roped in to plan for the operation.
They indicated that the evacuation could be carried out in a phased manner.
Indian embassies in the countries concerned have already started making a list of the stranded Indians, who include several thousands of those who lost their jobs or whose work permits have run out.
Navy gets ready
Sources further said that the Navy is already preparing for the operation in case they are called in to assist.
Accordingly, three of the Navy’s largest warships — INS Jalashwa, a landing platform dock, and at least two tank-landing ships — are being readied.
The preparation includes stripping the ship of weaponry and non-required equipment so that more people can be accommodated on it.
Sources said if need be, the IAF’s transport aircraft fleet of C17s and C130 J will also be deployed.
India had carried out one of the biggest evacuations ever in history when it brought back 1.7 lakh citizens in 1990 after Iraq went to war with Kuwait.
In 2015, India evacuated over 5,500 people, including 4,700 citizens from Yemen, after Saudi Arabia launched air strikes against Iranian-allied Houthi rebels.