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February 25, 2011

INS Jalashwa to evacuate Indians

(IndianExpress) : New Delhi has decided to press INS Jalashwa into service to evacuate Indians from Libya. Three more ships will also be used to ferry Indians from Tripoli and Benghazi to Alexandria in Egypt.
The INS Jalashwa is the third-largest warship of the Indian Navy, behind INS Viraat aircraft carrier and the newly inducted INS Deepak tanker, and is basically an amphibious assault platform designed to transport and land troops in enemy territory. It is lightly armed and has six medium lift helicopters.
Able to accommodate 1,500 people, the INS Jalashwa will be accompanied by two destroyers, which can ferry 200 people each. These are also being kept on standby for deployment to Libya, if the need arises, according to sources.
Designed to double up as a hospital ship, the INS Jalashwa has extensive medical facilitates, including four operation theatres, a 12-bed ward and a dental centre. Sources said the naval ship was on standby, and would proceed, as soon as the official formalities were completed. 
The Ministry of External Affairs on Thursday said in view of the “sharp and unprecedented deterioration” in the situation inside Libya, the government had decided to immediately commence evacuation operations.
The government has chartered a passenger ferry with a capacity to seat 1,200 persons for this purpose. “Scotia Prince is expected to reach Benghazi by February 27 and bring back at least 1,200 persons to Alexandria (Egypt) by March 1,” the statement said.

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