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Vande Bharat: One of the top civilian evacuations


The Vande Bharat Mission (VBM), which started repatriating Indians stranded abroad due to COVID-19 and the resultant lockdowns since May 7 2020 has turned out to be one of the largest evacuations of civilians by a country.


GS-II: Social Justice, Governance (Government Policies & Interventions)

Dimensions of the Article:

  1. India’s Evacuations in the Past
  2. Vande Bharat Mission (VBM) 2020-2021

India’s  Evacuations in the Past

Evacuation from the Gulf after Invasion of Kuwait(1990-91)

  • The 1990 airlift of Indians from Kuwait was carried out from August 13, 1990 to October 20, 1990 after the Invasion of Kuwait. Air India helped evacuate 170,000 people by civil airliners.
  • The operation was carried out before the Persian Gulf War in 1990 to evacuate Indian expatriates from Kuwait.
  • Air India, the flag carrier Indian airline entered the Guinness Book of World Records for the most people evacuated by a civil airliner.

Operation Sukoon in 2006 during Lebanon War

Operation Sukoon was an operation carried out by the Indian Navy to evacuate Indian, Sri Lankan and Nepalese nationals, from the conflict zone during the 2006 Lebanon War.

It was one of the largest evacuations conducted by the Indian Navy in which a total of more than 2000 people were evacuated.

Operation Safe Homecoming in 2011 during Libyan Civil war

Operation Safe Homecoming was launched by the Indian government on 26th February, 2011 to evacuate its citizens, fleeing from the Libyan Civil War.

The air-sea operation was conducted by the Indian Navy and Air India. Around 15,000 civilians were rescued in the operation.

Operation Maitri in 2015 during Nepal earthquake

Operation Maitri was a rescue and relief operation, carried out by the government of India and Indian armed forces in the aftermath of the April 2015 Nepal earthquake.

The Indian Armed Forces evacuated more than 5000 persons, while nearly 800 foreign tourists were provided transit visas.

Operation Raahat in 2015 during Yemen Crisis

It was launched by the Indian Armed Forces, to evacuate 4,640 Indian citizens and 960 foreign nationals of 41 countries from Yemen during the 2015 Yemen Crisis.

The evacuation took place both by sea and the air.

Vande Bharat Mission (VBM) 2020-2021

The Vande Bharat Mission (VBM) is the biggest civilian evacuation exercise to bring back Indian citizens stranded abroad amidst the coronavirus-induced travel restrictions.

The mission is undergoing its 10th phase and has carried 32 lakh passengers approximately both inbound and outbound.

  • Besides, helping distressed rural farmers and the NRIs, the aim of the mission is to keep the supply chain intact.
  • While overseas Indians from as many as 93 countries have availed repatriation through the VBM, the government has entered into special travel arrangements called ‘air travel bubbles’ with 18 different countries so far.

-Source: The Hindu

December 2023