Commander of INS Jalashwa says, 'Happy to help bring stranded Indians back home'

Tuticorin: As Indian Navy's 'Jalashwa' safely docked at the harbour in Tuticorin on Tuesday after sailing from Colombo a day before carrying nearly 700 Indian nationals stranded in the neighbouring country due to Covid-induced travel restrictions, the warship's commanding officer is a satisfied man.

"Our people are back, there is a sense of pride and satisfaction to see our brothers and sisters happy once they are back home," Captain Pankaj Chauhan, Commanding Officer of INS Jalashwa told ANI.

Chauhan said "Indian Navy and team Jalashwa is actually proud to be part of operation Samudra Setu in which we are helping in getting back our fellow Indians back to the country."

The amphibious transport dock INS Jalashwa entered Tamil Nadu's V O Chidambaranar Port in Tuticorin with embarking fellow Indians stuck in Sri Lanka for months following lockdown due to global pandemic COVID-19.

"Indian Navy is proud to be part of the Vande Bharat Mission through operation Samudra Setu. It is a novel task and it has its own set of challenges. We had to get back non-military personnel especially during the time of the global pandemic," the captain said.

He said that the team had to ensure safety, security and comfort of people and also to make sure there is not a single case of COVID 19 on board.

"Indian Navy has a great spirit and with its principles of current duty and honour meets all challenges head-on so as to be of service to this nation and its countrymen. To undertake this mission, we examined and studied each challenge and evolved new and specific procedures to address and overcome each challenge and that is how we have been able to undertake this successful mission," Chauhan said.

According to the onboard immigration list the evacuees aboard the ship that docked here comprised 557 males and 128 females including seven children, 36 elderly males and 15 elderly females.

The rescue mission is a part of operation Samudra Setu under the Vande Bharat Mission that so far facilitated the evacuation of 1,286 people from Male twice on May 8 and May 16.

Under phase II of naval repatriation mission, INS Jalashwa with the base at Vishakhapatnam would voyage for evacuation in Male(Maldives) and Bandar Abbas (Iran) now. 

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