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Mission Libya

New Delhi, March 10: India’s efforts to evacuate its nationals from Libya are likely to draw to a close early tomorrow.

Operation Safe Homecoming is the country’s second biggest effort to rescue its nationals from a foreign land. Over 15,400 Indians have returned since rescue efforts began on February 26.

In the last leg of the operation, special Air India flights are heading for Tripoli and Sebha to fly back the remaining Indian professionals and workers who want to leave the country. These flights are expected back late tonight and early tomorrow.

Nearly 3,000 Indian nationals have decided to stay back. Sources said there could be some more Indian migrants who may be living in Libya illegally. But they are yet to approach India’s mission in the country for assistance.

INS Jalaswa docked at the Tripoli harbour in the forenoon today to help evacuate any remaining Indians. The vessel is expected to bring 150 Indians from Libya to a port in one of its neighbouring countries from where they will fly back home.

The external affairs ministry said 2,400 Indians had returned since last evening on nine special flights.

Air India and the Indian Air Force planes have carried out 47 air charter sorties since the start of the evacuation.

An MEA statement said: “The Egyptian authorities have been most supportive, even allowing Indians to enter the country without visas.”

The biggest evacuation effort was during the 1990 Gulf War when 1.1 lakh Indians were brought back from Kuwait and Iraq.

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