PM Modi, Australia’s Morrison to meet in a virtual bilateral summit on June 4: MEA

Our Bureau New Delhi | Updated on May 28, 2020

PM Narendra Modi   -  Twitter via Prasar Bharati News Services (@PBNS_India)

Indians stranded in remote locations in Latin America and the Caribbean, Africa, and parts of Europe also being repatriated under VBM, says spokesperson

India and Australia will hold a leaders level bilateral summit between Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison on June 4 where all issues of mutual interest will be discussed, the Ministry of External Affairs has confirmed.

“The leaders will discuss bilateral issues of mutual interest in the India-Australia Summit scheduled on June 4,” MEA spokesperson Anurag Srivastava said at a media briefing on Thursday.

While the summit will be a virtual one over video conference, a number of bilateral agreements, including ones on military logistics and science & technology are likely to be signed, according to sources close to the development.

Vande Bharat Mission

Speaking on the on-going Vande Bharat Mission (VBM), Srivastava said that as many as 45,216 Indian nationals have been repatriated from around the world. These include 8,069 migrant workers, 7,656 students and 5,107 professionals. About 5,000 Indians have returned through land border immigration checkpoints from Nepal and Bangladesh.

In the first phase of VBM, from May 7-16 , as many as 16,716 stranded Indians returned. The phase two of the mission began on May 17 and will continue till June 13 by the end of which an estimated 1,00,000 stranded Indians would have been repatriated from 60 countries, the spokesperson said.

“We are also assisting return of stranded Indians from remote locations in Latin America and Caribbean, Africa, and parts of Europe. This is being done by taking advantage of foreign carriers flying to India primarily for evacuation of their nationals,” Srivastava said.

Recently, about 300 stranded Indians from Peru, Mexico, Belize, Guatemala, Honduras, Portugal and Netherlands were brought in. We will be exploring more such options.

Private airlines have now been included as part of Phase II of Vande Bharat Mission. Chartered flights have also begun to operate and return of our nationals through land borders has commenced. “The numbers are expected to go up in the coming days with the permission for chartered flights and more efficient use of quarantine capacity,” the spokesperson said. The phase 3 of the mission will begin after the on-going phase ends on June 13.

Published on May 28, 2020

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