New Delhi: Repatriation of more than 45 lakh people from various countries during the COVID-19 lockdown highlights the success of diplomacy of the current government, External Affairs Minister S. Jaishankar told Parliament.
Noting that seafarers are also a category that require special attention, the minister also said that crew change rules pose a challenge but even the issue with crew on the Chinese ports have been successfully resolved.
He further said that more than 45 lakh persons returned through the Vande Bharat flights run on Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s direction. The Central government started the Vande Bharat Mission on May 7 to bring back stranded Indians due to coronavirus pandemic from foreign countries.
Quoting data, Jaishankar said that Kerala received the highest number of returnees who were staying in various foreign countries during the lockdown, or they were stuck due to the emergency restrictions across the world, including India, to avoid the spread of the pandemic.
In the process, the minister said that the government spent Rs 33.5 crore from the ‘Indian Community Welfare Fund’. “This largest repatriation would not have been possible without partner governments…This highlighted the success of diplomacy of the current government,” said Jaishankar.
He further stated that India has confirmed agreements for air bubbles with 27 nations so far, as people and students are returning back. The government is also urging partner governments to look at the employment of our citizens sympathetically, he said.
Under the Prime Minister’s directions, Jaishankar mentioned how India pushed its effort of providing food items and medicines in the Gulf region while interacting with Saudi Arabia, Qatar and Oman.