New Delhi, March 3 (IANS) Over 7,000 Indians have been evacuated from violence-hit Libya so far and the government’s efforts to get more of its citizens out of the African nation will continue, External Affairs Minister S.M. Krishna said Thursday.
Giving a low down on the massive rescue operation underway since Feb 26, Krishna told reporters here that by the end of Thursday, over 7,000 of the 18,000 Indians in Libya would have returned to their families safe.
“Up to now about 6,000 Indians have been evacuated. We are expecting another 1,000 to come in late tonight,” he said on the sidelines of the India-Asean Delhi Dialogue III event here.
He said three aircraft from Libya’s capital Tripoli, five planes from Alexandria in neighbouring Egypt will bring back about 1,000-odd Indians to their homeland.
Another four aircraft will fly out of Tripoli on Friday, apart from one each from neighbouring Tunisia and Sirte city in Libya, bringing more Indians from Libya where massive anti-government protests are taking place to demand Muammar Gaddafi’s ouster.
He also noted that the ferry Scotia Prince would sail out of Alexandria to evacuate Indians from Libyan city of Benghazi.
“We will keep doing our very best to evacuate as many Indians as possible,” Krishna added.
Earlier in the day, navy chief Admiral Nirmal Verma said two Indian warships sailing to Libya to evacuate Indians will reach Alexandria in neighbouring Egypt March 8.
The troop carrier INS Jalashwa and the destroyer INS Mysore set sail for Libya Feb 26 and they will stay on station till the evacuation of all the 18,000 Indians have been evacuated.
Verma said under Operation Blossom, as the naval evacuation plan is called, the two ships will assist in transferring the Indians from Libyan ports to Malta, from where they would be brought home by air.