Unfazed, Indian mission in Kabul to resume issuing visas

July 12th, 2008 - 11:36 am ICT by IANS  

By Manish Chand
New Delhi, July 12 (IANS) Unfazed by the deadly July 7 suicide attack outside its premises , the Indian mission in Kabul has swung into business as it resumes issuing visas to hordes of Afghans, many of whom come to Delhi for medical treatment. “We are starting our dealings with the public Saturday. The Indian mission will start issuing visas from Sunday,” India’s Ambassador to Afghanistan Jayant Prasad told IANS in a phone interview from Kabul.

“Nothing can deter us from doing our work in Afghanistan. India is in the heart of every Afghan and they know India will not quit,” a proud Prasad said while recalling the inspiring story of how the Indian mission bounced back to life within less than two days after the attack by restoring all communication links.

“Many of these visa seekers could be people coming to India for medical treatment,” the envoy said while alluding to the growing reputation of India as a hub for high-quality, low-cost medical services.

A car packed with explosives blew up outside the Indian embassy in Kabul - the first ever terror attack on an Indian mission abroad that killed 54 people, including two diplomats and two security personnel.

Saying that the embassy had further tightened security cover, the Indian envoy underlined that if the motive of the attack was to deter India from carrying on with reconstruction of Afghanistan, this would not happen.

“India is in the heart of every Afghan. Nothing can scare us,” Prasad underlined, while alluding to a wide spectrum of projects ranging from roads and bridges to power and infrastructure in which around 3,700 Indians are engaged in the violence-torn country.

“As an ambassador of India, I am well protected. There is however no answer to a suicide bomber. It’s a professional hazard,” the envoy said when asked whether he feared a threat on his life.

After receiving an intelligence alert last month about a likely attack, the mission took a slew of measures designed to upgrade security that included the setting up of blast-proof hexa barrier - a thick wire mesh-and-mud barrier covering the embassy on all sides.

“Due to these blast-proof barriers, some 30 Afghan visa seekers who were inside the embassy close to the visa window Monday escaped unscathed,” the envoy said.

“Most of these visa seekers were Afghan nationals coming to India for medical treatment,” he said.

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