Indian Navy ships to reach Tripoli for evacuation Wednesday

March 8th, 2011 - 6:16 pm ICT by IANS  

New Delhi, March 8 (IANS) Two Indian naval warships sent to civil war-torn Libya will begin evacuating stranded Indians from Tripoli from Wednesday, an official said.

The two warships - troop carrier INS Jalashwa and Delhi-class destroyer INS Mysore - will now skip docking at Alexandria in neighbouring Egypt and would directly sail to Tripoli to begin evacuation of the 6,000 Indians left in Libya, which has been hit by violent political protests.

The two ships, which will reach Tripoli Wednesday, had left for Libya Feb 26 to join the evacuation efforts and have taken nearly 10 days to reach the troubled nation.

India has already evacuated around 12,000 of the total 18,000 Indians in Libya by air and sea from the violence-hit north African country.

“The two warships will now directly go to Tripoli skipping Alexandria considering the expediency in evacuating Indians from Libya,” a government official said here.

India is operating air bridges to bring Indians from Libya back home with government-owned Air India and other private airlines organising flights out of cities in and around Libya. That apart, India had engaged two private ferries MV Scotia Prince and MV Red Star One to pick up Indians and bring them to cities from where the air bridges operate.

The around 18,000 Indians living in Libya began fleeing the country after widespread protests to oust long-time ruler Muammar Gaddafi erupted in the middle of February, leading to violence, fighting and chaos.

India launched ‘Operation Safe Homecoming’ Feb 26 to bring back its nationals - the biggest mounted since the August 1990 Iraqi invasion of Kuwait that forced thousands of Indians to flee to Jordan from where they flew home.

The government said the pace of evacuation from Libya had been stepped up and would be concluded soon.

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