The Government of Kuwait on Friday said it was willing to evacuate a large number of workers and illegal migrants from India. who are stranded in its territory, due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
In a detailed press statement, the Embassy of Kuwait said the Ambassador of Kuwait Jassem Al Najem has conveyed to India his government’s plans to begin the operations after the nationwide lockdown is lifted.
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“The Ambassador highlighted Kuwait’s efforts to evacuate all illegal workers of different nationalities, including Indian nationals who were granted general amnesty by the Kuwaiti government and offered to fetch them back to their respective countries free of cost and by its own civil airlines,” said the embassy in a press note. The Ministry of External Affairs is yet to respond to the Kuwaiti proposal.
The proposal is the second from a Gulf country. A similar idea was presented by the Ambassador of the United Arab Emirates Ahmed Al Banna on April 10, proposing the evacuation of several thousand Indian nationals from his country.
Relief for illegal workers
The Kuwaiti proposal, however, is significant as it states clearly that the evacuees will include illegal immigrants from India who were found to be residing in Kuwait.
“Kuwait is looking forward to work with the Indian government after the complete lockdown ends, in the backdrop of coronavirus pandemic and extraordinary situations the world is witnessing,” the press release said, quoting Mr. Al Najem’s communication with the Indian authorities. The Hindu has reported that India has been planning large-scale evacuations from the Gulf region after the lifting of the lockdown. Wide-bodied aircraft and naval ships have been kept ready for the planned operations.
India’s ties with Kuwait came under a cloud over the last fortnight as a social media campaign began in the Gulf state after a March 2 official communication of the country urged international intervention to safeguard the rights of the Muslim community in India.
Officials on both sides reiterated their commitment to the principle of non-interference in internal affairs.
Kuwait has several hundred Indian nationals who have been infected by COVID-19. New Delhi had sent a team of doctors and experts earlier to assist Kuwait in providing treatment to the Indian nationals.