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2 warships to be sent to Libya to bring back Indians

New Delhi: India will on Saturday despatch two naval warships including its largest amphibious vessel INS Jalashwa to evacuate its citizens stranded in trouble-torn Libya.

"We are sending INS Jalashwa along with INS Mysore from Mumbai to Libya to bring back Indians stuck there," Navy officials said here.

The two ships will take at least eight to ten days to reach Alexandria in Egypt and from there launch to one of the ports in Libya which has not yet been decided, they added.

The Defence Ministry had received a request from the External Affairs Ministry to see if it could help in bringing back Indian citizens from there.

The Jalshwa is the largest available ship with the Indian Navy, which can be used for carrying out humanitarian efforts of this kind.

The over 27,000 tonnes ship can carry more than 1000 passengers and has adequate medical facilities.

The warship is deployed in Vishakapattanam under the Eastern naval Command but was deployed in Mumbai on the western seaboard for taking part in the TROPEX exercises.

The MEA has already hired a ship Scotia Prince which can ferry 1,200 passengers. The ship is already in Egypt and readying for sail to Benghazi which will be the initial focus of the evacuation operations," the MEA said.

There are about 18,000 Indians in that country with majority of them living in Tripoli which is one of the worst-affected cities due to the protests.

Indian companies, many of which are based in Libya for decades, have also offered to work with the Indian Embassy in Tripoli in facilitating evacuation.

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