The mission has repatriated people stranded in different countries after COVID-19 haltied regular flights

Calling it the ‘Mission of hope & happiness,’ Civil Aviation Minister Hardeep Singh Puri said in a tweet that over 16 lakh people have repatriated under Vande Bharat Mission since the commencement of the mission amid the Covid-19 pandemic.

“Mission of hope & happiness. International flights under VBM, in addition to other modes, facilitate repatriation & outbound travel of more than 16.25 lakh people from different countries. We continue to reach out to more every day,” the tweet read.

On September 13, a total of 4,170 people returned under VBM, according to the Ministry of External Affairs, while On September 12, the number of people who returned to the country under VBM was 3450.

Launched on 7 May, Vande Bharat Mission has allowed the repatriation of people following the Covid-19 pandemic which has left a large number of people stranded in different countries because of the halting of the flights.

More than 1.2 million people have traveled in multiple VBM flights to and fro India and continue to do so.

About 84 flights operated under this mission in the first phase other than the Indian Navy vessels which also rescued Indians in other nations by bringing them back.

The VBM is currently in its sixth phase which will continue till October 24.

Additionally, India has signed an Air Bubble agreement with several countries including Qatar, Maldives, Germany, and France among others.

The air bubble is a temporary arrangement between two countries to restart commercial flight services at a time when regular international flights are suspended due to COVID-19.

Under the arrangement, airlines from both countries are allowed to operate, unlike Mission Vande Bharat where only Indian air carriers were allowed to operate flights.

The government of India is currently negotiating bilateral air bubbles with other nations to facilitate air travel based on understanding and partnership because of the pandemic.