United States, Kuwait Deport Nearly 4,000 Indians After The Outbreak Of The Covid-19 Pandemic | Latest India News
Thousands of Indians, mostly in the United States and Kuwait, have been deported to the country via special flights after serving their prison terms over the past year, according to a report compiled by the Covid Cell unit from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs mentioning air operations during the Covid pandemic. .
The United States and Kuwait alone returned 4,000 deportees. Some Indians have also returned via amnesty flights, according to the Foreign Ministry report giving details of the Vande Bharat mission, India’s largest repatriation exercise launched on May 7 last year. to bring back citizens stranded abroad due to the pandemic.
“These flights were mainly operated by the government. of Kuwait to send to India people who become illegal when their visa expires in that country. The Govt. of Kuwait paid for these amnesty flights and also indicated that the workers upon their return to India could reapply for a work visa at a later date, ”the report said.
Another category of people who returned to India were the deportees, a category of people who, after a prison sentence in their country, had to be brought back to India by special flights at the expense of the countries of origin, “he added.
HT reviewed the ministry review report that documents the suddenly announced VBM execution, the state governments’ dilemma, and the challenges faced in evacuating citizens and the workarounds adopted.
States were concerned about the interstate movements of migrant workers and faced the dilemma of allowing stranded Indians to return home while migrant workers at their homes were still being held up and facing hardship, ”he said. , noting that states feared a “political backlash”. to restrict the movement of internal migrant workers while allowing VBM returnees.
According to the Aviation Ministry, the repatriation exercise, which has so far brought 2.06 million passengers to India, is currently in its eleventh phase. But the most critical phase of the operation ended in December 2020 when most of the Indians were brought back. Repatriation flights were then qualified as international flights under bilateral “air bubble” agreements with 24 countries. In addition, around 100 patients were also brought into the country by air ambulances for medical treatment.
The report recognized that Indians in remote areas of Latin America and the Caribbean, West Africa, and Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS) countries could not be covered due to geographic distances and logistical obstacles due to internal blockages in these regions.
“In addition, VBM’s operations to specific locations in these regions have not proven to be economically viable. The gathering of Indians stranded in a hub, for example in Panama City or Sao Paulo, was explored but was not possible. Plans to bring them to the United States and put them on VBM flights did not materialize for the same reasons as well as due to visa issues… Ethiopian Airlines with extensive network in the African region was helpful in bringing back Indians stranded in remote areas ”, mentioned.
The report pointed out that the return of Indians by foreign carriers required the approval of the General Directorate of Civil Aviation (DGAC). The Covid Cell headed by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, which coordinated the repatriation of citizens, had to apply to the civil aviation regulator for approval on a case-by-case basis, despite the reluctance of the DGCA to encourage these options which could by inadvertently put VBM Flights in competition.
“It took a lot of persuasion with the DGCA to get approvals on a case-by-case basis. In total, around 3,000 stranded Indians were evacuated from Peru, Colombia, Bolivia, Panama, Chile, Venezuela, Mexico, Guatemala, Nicaragua, Honduras, Belize, etc. and the Caribbean region – Antigua, Barbados, Guyana, Suriname, Trinidad and Tobago, Jamaica, Saint Lucia, etc. adds the report.
The Center also authorized chartered flights to carry passengers in coordination with state governments and the DGAC without the Ministry of Foreign Affairs or its missions. “This simplified procedure has greatly helped Indian associations to quickly bring back stranded Indians in large numbers,” said the report, noting that these chartered flights brought back 1.2 million people by October 2020, exceeding the number of passengers brought. by VBM flights.
“Nonetheless, VBM flights began operations on May 7, 2020, although the decision to start VBM was sudden, state governments, missions and relevant ministries / departments have adapted to the demands rather well,” the report.