Naval warships INS Jalashwa and INS Mysore which have been dispatched to evacuate Indian nationals stranded in strife torn Libya will start their operations from March 8, Navy chief Admiral Nirmal Verma said in New Delhi on Thursday.
"The two warships will reach Alexandria on March 8. Once the numbers are mustered in Tripoli, our ships can be involved in the evacuation exercise," Verma told reporters on the sidelines of a naval seminar.
The ships would wait at Alexandria till the evacuation is over and these would be used to ferry the passengers to Malta, he said. "What has been worked out with the Ministry of External Affairs is, these ships are not meant to carry passengers for long distances. They are basically troop carriers. So, we would move passengers from Tripoli or Benghazi to Malta," he said.
From Malta the evacuation would take place through private airlines and the aircraft provided by the Indian Air Force.
Asked why the two warships are carrying a complement of Marine Commandos (MARCOS), Verma said that it is now part of Navy's standard operating procedure for the vessels sailing in the Gulf regions.
"This is now our standard routine. Whenever we send our ships in these areas, we have marine commandos on it for the protection of the ships or for the safety of the passenger," he said.