700 Indians to return home today; HC calls Sri Lanka a true friend, neighbor
Photos by: Sanjeewa Lasantha

700 Indians to return home today; HC calls Sri Lanka a true friend, neighbor

June 1, 2020   07:27 pm

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Nearly 700 Indian nationals who were stranded in Sri Lanka are repatriated to India, today (01), on the Indian Naval Ship (INS) ‘Jalashwa’.

The vessel reached Colombo Port today and the Indian High Commissioner to Sri Lanka was seen interacting with the Indian nationals.

High Commissioner Gopal Baglay appreciated the efforts of the Indian government, Indian Navy, government of Tamil Nadu, and the Sri Lankan government for their efforts in this repatriation mission.

Speaking on Sri Lanka, the High Commissioner said that the Sri Lankan government is a true friend and a true neighbor.

“It is a place where there are no usual facilities for immigration or customs but they have set up here everything including online clearance for immigration system custom clearance checking. Even health officials are here. The Sri Lankan government is like a true friend and a true neighbor. They have cooperated wholeheartedly in this endeavor”

Calling today a ‘happy day’, Baglay thanked his colleagues for working tirelessly and planning this operation meticulously.

People who arrived in Sri Lanka in March as tourists, or to attend a wedding or as fishermen and got stranded in Sri Lanka due to COVID-induced travel restrictions are set to sail this evening and will disembark on June 2 at the Tuticorin harbour in Tamil Nadu.

The evacuees include men, women, children as well as Tamil Nadu fishermen, Baglay noted.

The ship has been demarcated into zones to facilitate the evacuees without compromising on social distancing and health protocols issued by the government. In the final section, allotted teams will escort the evacuees to their designated mess.

Indian Navy officials have formed teams specifically to ensure social distancing among the evacuees.

INS Jalashwa had been to Sri Lanka three years ago on May 30, 2017, carrying flood relief materials to help its neighbor in a catastrophic situation caused by Cyclone Mora.

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