South Asia and Beyond

Evacuation Launched But Regular Operations Continue, Says Navy Vice Chief

NEW DELHI: As part of the world’s biggest evacuation operation to bring back Indians stranded abroad due to the pandemic, four ships of the India Navy have already been pressed into service. While two of them—INS Airavat and INS Shardul— have already set sail for the Gulf, another two—INS Jalashwa and INS Magar—are en route to the Maldives, Navy Vice Chief Vice Admiral G Ashok Kumar told StratNews Global. In an exclusive interview to Editor-in-Chief Nitin A. Gokhale, Adm Kumar said these ships can do multiple trips and, if need be, more warships are ready for deployment in what is called Operation Samudra Setu. If all goes as per plan, the ships sent to the Gulf can head back home with 250-275 evacuees (per ship) as early as tomorrow evening. The tentative travel time is three days and a half, he said, adding that the journey from Maldives would take less time (nearly two days) but INS Jalashwa can accommodate as many as 750 evacuees. And while the Navy carries out evacuation, it has taken care that its regular operational tasks are not hindered. As Adm Kumar says: “We have ensured that our guard isn’t put down at all”.

Nitin A. Gokhale

Author, thought leader and one of South Asia's leading strategic analysts, Nitin A. Gokhale has forty years of rich and varied experience behind him as a conflict reporter, Editor, author and now a media entrepreneur who owns and curates two important digital platforms, and focusing on national security, strategic affairs and foreign policy matters. At the beginning of his long and distinguished career, Gokhale has lived and reported from India’s North-east for 23 years, writing and analysing various insurgencies in the region, been on the ground at Kargil in the summer of 1999 during the India-Pakistan war, and also brought live reports from Sri Lanka’s Eelam War IV between 2006-2009. Author of over a dozen books on wars, insurgencies and conflicts, Gokhale relocated to Delhi in 2006, was Security and Strategic Affairs Editor at NDTV, a leading Indian broadcaster for nine years, before launching in 2015 his own digital properties. An alumni of the Asia-Pacific Centre for Security Studies in Hawaii, Gokhale now writes, lectures and analyses security and strategic matters in Indo-Pacific and travels regularly to US, Europe, South and South-East Asia to speak at various international seminars and conferences. Gokhale also teaches at India’s Defence Services Staff College (DSSC), the three war colleges, India's National Defence College, College of Defence Management and the intelligence schools of both the R&AW and Intelligence Bureau. He tweets at @nitingokhale


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