2 China-bound flights to bring back Indians
NEW DELHI: India has arranged two flights to bring back Indians stranded in China because of the Covid-19 pandemic in the third phase of Vande Bharat Mission, against the backdrop of heightened tensions between the two sides over a border standoff.
There will be close to 600 flights in the third phase of Vande Bharat Mission, the country’s largest operation to repatriate its nationals from around the world.
Several hundred Indians were evacuated from China, including Wuhan, in special flights shortly after the Covid-19 outbreak, though China wasn’t included in the first two phases of the repatriation programme.
The first flight to China under the third phase was scheduled for 10pm on June 20 from Shanghai to Delhi and the second for 10.40am on
June 29 from Guangzhou to Delhi.
The flights are expected to repatriate a total of almost 490 Indian nationals, according to a schedule on the external affair ministry’s website.
Tensions between and India and China spiked after a violent face-off between border troops of the two sides at Galwan Valley along the Line of Actual Control (LAC) on June 15 left 20 Indian soldiers dead. India has said the violence occurred when Indian soldiers foiled attempts by Chinese troops to erect structures after transgressing the Line of Actual Control .
More than 50,000 Indians were living and working in mainland China as of early 2019.
The third phase of Vande Bharat Mission, which started on June 11, will cover 41 countries and involve flights operating from 55 international airports.