Three warships on standby to evacuate Indians from the Gulf
These warships include INS Jalashwa and two other amphibious warships, sources said.Updated: Apr 29, 2020 13:44 IST
India has kept three warships on standby to bring back thousands of Indian nationals struck in the Gulf countries as New Delhi works towards implementing a challenging evacuation plan that will also include special flights amid the Covid-19 outbreak, government sources said on Wednesday.
These warships include INS Jalashwa and two other amphibious warships, the sources said. “The ministry of external affairs is steering the evacuation plan. The navy is prepared to send three warships to bring Indians back,” the sources said.
As reported by Hindustan Times on Tuesday, Prime Minister Narendra Modi has spelt out the ground rule for the evacuation plan --- India’s blue collar workers stranded abroad will get the first seats in the special flights that will be run by the government to get them home.
Students stranded in different countries will be next, followed by everyone else including Indians who were travelling for work, or pleasure.
The navy’s solitary landing platform dock (LPD), the INS Jalashwa, has a displacement of 16,950 tonnes. Formerly known as the USS Trenton, it was bought from the United States 13 years ago. The navy also has a fleet of five smaller amphibious warships with a displacement of 5,600 tonnes, and even smaller 1,150-tonne landing ship tanks.
The navy’s plans to build four LPDs in the country to scale up its amphibious warfare capabilities as part of a $3-billion project has not made any headway so far. Earlier, Reliance Defence had teamed up with French shipbuilder DCNS, while L&T partnered with Spanish state-owned company Navantia to build the warships in the country.