2 China-bound flights to bring back In­di­ans

Hindustan Times (Jalandhar) - - HTSPOTLIGH­T - HT Corre­spon­dent letters@hin­dus­tan­times.com

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.

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