The government of India on Friday started repatriating its nationals stranded in Bangladesh due to the coronavirus pandemic.
A special Air India flight carrying 170 students from various medical colleges in Dhaka left Hazrat Shahjalal International Airport for Srinagar in the morning, a press release of the Indian High Commission in Dhaka said.
It said the stranded Indian nationals in Bangladesh would be evacuated in phases.
As part of the first phase, six more flights of Air India will carry Indian nationals to Srinagar on May 12 and 13, to Delhi on May 9 and 11, to Mumbai on May 10, and to Chennai on May 14. In the span of a week, each of the flights will carry nearly 170 passengers.
Indian High Commissioner in Dhaka Riva Ganguly Das was in constant touch with the students and resolved their various issues like food, lodging and finance in close cooperation with the principals of the medical colleges, who had been "most generous" with their support in this difficult time.
She was present at the airport to see the first batch of Indians off and interacted with them. Wishing the students a safe journey back home, the high commissioner reiterated the government of India's commitment to the welfare of its citizens abroad.
The students thanked the High Commission in Dhaka for its efforts towards evacuating them.
The government of India under the leadership of Prime Minister Narendra Modi has commenced the biggest repatriation exercise ever with "Vande Bharat Mission" to bring back Indians stranded abroad due to the coronavirus pandemic.
This includes many Indian nationals who had travelled to different countries before the lockdown on various purposes such as employment, studies/internships, tourism, and business.
There are other Indian nationals who need to visit India for medical emergencies or death of family members, according to the Indian High Commission in Dhaka.
Vande Bharat Mission is a "mammoth logistical exercise" that involves integrated approach, meticulous planning, complex coordination and implementation between India's Ministry of Civil Aviation, the Ministry of Home Affairs, the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, the Ministry of Defence, the Ministry of External Affairs and the state governments.
The Ministry of External Affairs has deputed nodal officers for most states for the evacuation exercise.