All Indians to be evacuated from Libya by Mar 10: Govt

Last Updated: Friday, March 4, 2011 - 18:31

New Delhi: India on Friday said it will evacuate
all its citizens desirous of leaving strife-torn Libya by
March 10.



By tonight, over 9,200 of the 16,000 Indian nationals
stranded there would have been evacuated from Libya, Minister
of State for External Affairs Preneet Kaur said in a statement
in the Rajya Sabha.
"We expect to complete the exercise of evacuating all
those desirous of leaving Libya by March 10," she said adding
around 10 per cent of the Indian citizens may have decided to
stay back in the North African country.



In response to members` concerns, the Minister said there
is "no cut-off date" for completion of evacuation.



To a member`s remark that China and Phillippines had
completed their evacuation exercise much before India could do
so, she said China had not issued any official figure and
Phillipines was yet to complete its evacuation process.



To a query, she said the Government was not charging any
fare from them.



"Indian nationals are not required to pay any money for
the repatriation... the cost towards their evacuation is being
met by the Government," Kaur said.



She said External Affairs Minister S M Krishna has already
talked to his Libyan counterpart on March 2 and "was assured
of all possible assistance for the purpose."



The Minister said a passenger ship Scotia Prince will
reach Benghazi tomorrow morning after dropping the first batch
of 1,188 Indian nationals to Alexandria in Egypt last night.
She said passengers dropped by it have already reached
Delhi and Mumbai in Air India Special Flights.



Kaur said another passenger ship Red Star One was on its
way to Misurata and Sirte to take Indian nationals to Malta
from where they would be brought back in special flights from
Valletta.



The Minister said an air bridge is being established
between Sehba and India from tonight and 2,000 Indians would
be evacuated from there in next five days.



She said 750 Indian nationals have reached Benghazi from
Kufra in Southern Libya by land route and would be picked up
by a passenger vessel reaching there.



Kaur said a large number of Indian nationals have crossed
the Libyan border into Tunisia and Egypt and are being
assisted by the Indian Embassy officials there.



Similar help was being provided to Indian citizens who
have managed to reach other countries like Malta and Greece.
On the issue of protecting properties of Indians in Libya,
Kaur said it was the duty of the host country and India will
take up the matter with the government which comes to power
there.



Kaur said an IL-76 aircraft has been positioned in Cairo
to undertake possible evacuation operations from Libya and a
second aircraft is also being kept in readiness.



Two Navy warships - INS Jalashwa and INS Mysore - are also
expected to be there by March 8 to assist in evacuation of any
Indian who might still be in the coastal towns of Libya.



Kaur said only two Indians have lost their lives in
accidents in Libya.



The Minister said additional staff has been deployed in
Libya and other nearby countries to help in the evacuation
operations carried out by the External Affairs Ministry.



PTI



First Published: Friday, March 4, 2011 - 18:31
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