India has sent three naval ships to evacuate its citizens stranded in the Maldives and UAE due to the COVID-19 pandemic, a defence spokesperson said in the early hours on Tuesday.
INS Jalashwa deployed off Mumbai coast, along with INS Magar, diverted for Maldives on Monday night, he said.
While INS Shardul diverted to Dubai to evacuate the expatriates, the spokesperson added.
The three ships will return to Kochi, he said.
INS Magar and INS Shardul are Southern Naval Command ships, while INS Jalashwa is from Eastern Naval Command.
On Monday, the Centre said it will facilitate the return of Indians stranded abroad on compelling grounds in a phased manner.
The process of return of Indians stranded abroad will begin from May 7 in a phased manner, the ministry said. The travel would be arranged by aircraft and naval ships and the Standard Operating Protocol (SOP) has been prepared in this regard.
It further added that Indian Embassies and High Commissions are preparing a list of distressed Indian citizens and that the facility would be made available on basis of payment. Non-scheduled commercial flights would be arranged for air travel.
The decision comes on the same day India entered the third phase of lockdown with coronavirus cases soaring past 42,000.