India planning to evacuate its nationals from Libya

February 23rd, 2011 - 7:44 pm ICT by ANI  

New Delhi, Feb 23 (ANI): India is putting in place plans for the evacuation of Indians based in Libya, which is witnessing protests against the 41-year rule of Libyan leader Muammar Qadhafi.

In a suo motu statement in the Lok Sabha, External Affairs Minister Krishna said: “We have put in place plans for possible evacuation by land, air and sea from Libya. We have also issued travel advisories for our nationals to avoid non-essential travel to Bahrain, Yemen and Libya.”

“We also held inter-Ministerial meetings to take stock of the situation in the region and its impact on Indian and Indian origin community in the region and contingency plans required for them,” he added.

Emphasising that the government was closely monitoring the situation in Libya, Yemen and Bahrain, Krishna said: “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.”

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 added.

He said 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.”In Libya, there are around 18,000 Indians, 14,000 in Yemen and in Bahrain, the number is over 350,000 who are reportedly safe. Our embassies have been in close and regular contact with the Indian community,” he added.

On the issue of safety and security of Indian fishermen in waters between India and Sri Lanka, the Minister said: “Allow me to reiterate, at the outset, that the welfare, safety and security of our fishermen have always received the highest priority by Government.

“As soon as the news of the deaths of our fishermen was received, the Government had immediately taken up the matter with the Government of Sri Lanka both in New Delhi as well as in Colombo,” he added.

Expressing deep concern at these incidents, Krishna said: “We emphasized that resort to firing or use of force in such situations had no justification.

“We requested the Sri Lankan Government to seriously investigate these incidents and ensure that they do not recur. We also emphasized that they should scrupulously adhere to the October 2008 Joint Statement on Fishing Arrangements in letter and spirit,” he added. (ANI)

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