Ready to evacuate all Indians in Libya: Krishna
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Last Updated: Thursday, February 24, 2011, 00:53
  
New Delhi: Amid deteriorating situation in Libya, Government on Wednesday said it was ready to evacuate all the 18,000 Indians there and the first naval ship has already reached Egypt on way to Libya.

External Affairs Minister S M Krishna said the government was closely monitoring the situation in Libya as also Bahrain and Yemen and inter-ministerial meetings have been held to take stock of the situation in the region.

Replying to clarifications by members in Rajya Sabha, he said that the Government is "not charging anybody" for evacuation.

Making suo motu statement in both Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha and replying to clarifications, Krishna said all Indians in Libya are "safe as of now".

“We will do everything that is possible to evacuate all Indians safely," Krishna said.

Listing the steps taken by the government to evacuate the Indians, he said that one ship has already arrived at Egypt and it would be reaching Libya to bring back Indians.

He also said as one ship could carry about 800-1,000 people, the Government would have to think of a large scale operation than merely sending two ships. "Ships are being lined up for evacuating them."

Krishna, however, did not given any time frame for bringing back all Indians, saying, "It is an extremely difficult proposition to spell out time frame."

But, he quickly added that the Government would take every step to bring them back at the "earliest possible time".

Earlier, BJP member Tarun Vijay had raised this issue saying Indians evacuated from Egypt were made to pay double the normal air fare.

Responding to members' concerns about the security of 200 Indian nurses stranded there, Krishna said all of them are safe and the Indian Ambassador has personally spoken to them.

"I have personally been in touch with our Ambassadors in these countries and have conveyed that all measures should be taken for the safety and welfare of our nationals there," he said.

He informed the House that the External Affairs Ministry and Indian embassies concerned have set up round-the-clock helplines to help Indians.

Krishna earlier said, "We are putting in place plans for possible evacuation by land, air and sea."

He noted that "violent political protests" are being witnessed in Libya as also Yemen and Bahrain which have significant Indian community, most of whom have gone there to earn their livelihood and have been contributing to the growth and development of the host country.

"Our embassies have been in close and regular contact with the Indian community," the minister said.

There are about 3,50,000 Indians in Bahrain and 14,000 in Yemen.

Referring to Egypt which also witnessed political upheaval recently, Krishna said upon request from the Indian community, three special flights were arranged by Air India, which carried around 670 Indians from Cairo to Mumbai.

"This was not 'evacuation' and government only facilitated arrangement of the special flights of Air India to Cairo which brought back Indians desirous of returning to India," he underlined.

PTI


First Published: Thursday, February 24, 2011, 00:53


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