The Indian Navy, on Friday 8th May commenced a massive operation to evacuate Indians, stranded on the Maldives, after the stay on all domestic and international flights was announced in the country to curb the spread of the pandemic disease Coronavirus. Named operation SAMUNDRA SETU which means a bridge across the seas 2 landing ships were expected to evacuate around 1,200 Indian nationals in one trip. In fact on Sunday 10th May, 2020 the landing ship INS L 41 JALASHWA arrived at Kochi Harbour bringing back 698 Indian nationals from Male, Maldives. According to the Indian Navy, there were 19 pregnant women among the 698 Indian nationals.
The second naval ship INS L 20 MAGAR , a landing ship tank arrived on Tuesday 12th May, 2020 with 202 nationalities embarked.
This is the biggest sea-route evacuation carried out by the Navy since its effort in March-April 2015, when a total of 3,074 people, including 1291 foreign nationals, were evacuated from Yemen after Saudi Arabia launched airstrikes against Iranian-allied Houthi rebels. In the past the Indian Navy carried out similar Non-Combatant Evacuation Operations (NEO) operations from overseas one of them in 2006 during OPERATION SUKOON meaning relief that was carried out to evacuate 2,200 Indians, Sri Lankans and Nepalese from Lebanon.
Photos by Capt. Lawrence Dalli. Do not use these images without my permission. © All rights reserved. Malta Ship Photos & Action Photos – www.maltashipphotos.com
Published – Wednesday 13th May, 2020.