Monday 27 April 2020 2:46 AM UTC
New Delhi April 27: The Foreign Ministry, in coordination with the Civil Aviation Ministry, Air India, state governments and Indian missions abroad, has started planning for the evacuation of Indian nationals abroad who are looking to return home.
While the consultations are on, the Indians will be flown back only after the nationwide lockdown to control the spread of coronavirus is lifted, government sources said.
The evacuations will be made through special flights or regular flights once they resume and will vary from state to state, depending on the lockdown situation there, the sources added.
The evacuations will be done on payment bases, with citizens having to pay for the flight tickets.
There are thousands of Indians stranded abroad, especially in the Gulf, and there has been diplomatic pressure mounted on India by Gulf nations to take the Indian nationals back and “not exploit the hospitality being given to them” since March 24.
There have been political demands in India, especially from Kerala, for the return of those working in the region.
The Foreign Ministry is closely working with state governments and Indian missions abroad to register with Indian citizens who want to return to India.
The evacuation will take place from various countries but the citizens will have to pay for the flight tickets.
All flight operations – domestic and international – have been suspended during the lockdown. India has brought several citizens stuck abroad before the implementation of the lockdown.
India has been under lockdown for over a month to check the spread of COVID-19. The lockdown was extended till May 3 by Prime Minister Narendra Modi as the number cases of the highly infectious diseases went up.
The country has over 26,000 coronavirus cases; 824 have died.
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