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Coronavirus outbreak | India to help stranded Australians

File photo of Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison.

File photo of Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison.   | Photo Credit: AP

PM Modi calls Australian counterpart

India will assist Australians who are stranded in the country because of the lockdown imposed to counter the COVID-19 pandemic, Prime Minister Narendra Modi said on Monday to his Australian counterpart Scott Morrison. Sources confirmed that around 6,000 Australian citizens have registered with the Australian authorities and options are being explored for evacuating them soon.

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“The Prime Minister conveyed that the Government of India stands ready to provide necessary facilitation and support to any Australian citizen stranded in India due to travel restrictions. Prime Minister Morrison similarly assured that the Indian community in Australia, including Indian students, would continue to be valued as a vibrant part of Australian society,” a press release from the Ministry of External Affairs stated.

Also read | India’s efforts to combat COVID-19 has been lauded globally: PM Modi

Over the past week, India has facilitated evacuation of large number of European citizens in special charter flights. The United Kingdom also announced that it will fly special flights from Goa, Delhi and Mumbai to evacuate around 20,000 out of the 35,000 citizens stranded in India. Sources said Australian nationals were urged to register to avail the charter flights that Australian government is expected to operate for this large scale evacuation lasting several days.

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High Commissioner-Designate of Australia Barry O’Farrel in a social media message said teams of officials spread across India were reaching out to stranded nationals and helping them on a priority basis with food and medicines. “We recognise that returning to Australia is the top priority for many. That’s why our team is working day and night to explore viable charter options,” said Mr. O’Farrel. Mr. Morrison also informed that he discussed with Mr. Modi, the work required to develop a vaccine for the novel coronavirus that causes COVID-19. Australia, like other countries of the western block, has been carrying out evacuation missions for its citizens who are stranded in various parts of the COVID-19 affected world.

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Monday’s telephonic conversation was part of India’s exchanges with the regional and global leaderships beginning with Mr. Modi’s videoconference with South Asian leaders on March 15 which was followed by his exchanges with French President Emmanuel Macron, U.S. President Donald Trump and the G20 among others.

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Printable version | May 30, 2020 4:45:17 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/coronavirus-pm-modi-calls-australian-counterpart/article31269595.ece

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