Addressing the concerns of stranded Indians around the world India’s Minister of State for External Affairs V. Muraleedharan stated in a live television interview that their repatriation can be considered only from May. Chartered flights by those who can afford it will also be considered only then. Denying the possibility of mass repatriation of overseas Indians, the minister said the government can only allow repatriation of stranded Indians on a priority basis since arranging quarantining facilities for tens of thousands of Indians returning home is not practically possible.

Offering all possible support from the Indian government to the Gulf countries where millions of Indian expats live, the minister said the Indian missions, with the approval from the local governments, will help arrange quarantine centres other than the ones set up by the respective governments.

The possibility of taking over the buildings of Indian associations, schools and other institutions for this purpose is being explored, he said.

The missions will also assist the local governments by arranging the service of Indian healthcare workers for community work with the approval of the local health authorities, he said. Indian missions will also work with community volunteers and associations to provide food and medicines for laborers and others requiring such assistance.

If need arises, India is also ready to supply necessary medicines, he added.

More than half of the COVID 19 infected patients in Kuwait are Indians numbering 604 out of the total 1154 infected persons.

Kuwait government is ready to repatriate illegal Indian citizens free of cost as part of the amnesty announced by the government. Kuwait’s ministry of interior has on record that there are about 42,000 illegal Indians residing in the country.

The processing of amnesty of Indian nationals will begin on April 16 to 20 and the ministry is making preparation for the repatriation.

V. Muraleedharan added that elderly citizens, pregnant women and those requiring treatment back home will be given priority in the repatriation process, he said.

The Ministry of External Affairs intends to request the Civil Aviation Ministry to take the necessary steps for the repatriation services, he said.

Muraleedharan urged overseas Indians to stay put wherever they are and follow the directives of the local governments for their own safety.

He urged Indians from Gulf countries not to worry about visa expiries as the local governments have already relaxed visa rules and announced exemption of fines.

He added that the Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi had talked to the leaders in the Gulf countries who assured him of the safety of Indian citizens in their countries.

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