India to evacuate its citizens from Libya
India on Saturday despatched two flights and two ships to evacuate its citizens stranded in Libya, officials said, dpa reported.
The flights, with a combined capacity of 640 passengers, flew to Tripoli from New Delhi and the western city of Mumbai, the External Affairs Ministry said in a statement.
The planes were expected to return to New Delhi by midnight Saturday, ministry officials said.
National carrier Air India will be operating two flights daily to Tripoli over the next 10 days to bring home thousands of Indians, they said.
A passenger ship named Scotia Prince was expected to dock at the port city of Benghazi on Monday to evacuate 1,200 Indians via Egypt.
Another passenger ship with a capacity of 1,600 in the Mediterranean was being chartered on Saturday to help in the evacuations, officials said.
Two Indian navy ships also left Mumbai on Saturday and were scheduled to reach Libya within 12 days.
An estimated 18,000 Indians are in Libya, where protesters were seeking the ouster of Moamer Gaddafi after 41 years of rule.
One group of Indians employed in the town of Zawiyah had fled across the border to Tunisia to flee the fighting between forces loyal to Gaddafi and his opponents, NDTV network reported.
There was an acute scarcity of food and water in Zawiyah as the situation in Libya worsened, the Indian workers told the newschannel.