New Delhi: The external affairs ministry has set up a special unit to look into the cases of Indians stranded abroad as it is throwing no stones unturned. Additional Secretary Dammu Ravi has been appointed as the point person for coordinating the response to COVID-19. He has four other officers and staff to support him, officials said. Also Read - Coronavirus: India Brings Back 236 Nationals Stranded in Iran, 218 From Italy
Here’s how the situation is being monitored: Also Read - Coronavirus Matter of Concern, Says EAM S Jaishankar; Advises Indians to Avoid Non-Essential Travel
1. External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar and Foreign Secretary Harsh Vardhan Shringla are personally monitoring the situation, they said.
2. Jaishankar travelled to Srinagar on March 9 and met with the families of Indian students in Iran and heard their concerns.
3. The ministry is also working with Indian missions abroad to bring back Indian nationals from the severely-affected countries, officials said.
4. Indian missions in Iran and Italy are in regular touch with Indian nationals, including Indian students, community members and are advising them on following all health protocols amidst the outbreak, they said.
5. Medical teams have reached both Iran and Italy to test Indians for the virus.
6. A consignment of 15 tonnes of Indian medical relief for COVID-19 was sent to Wuhan on February 26.
7. The Indian Embassy in Japan also mounted an evacuation operation on February 26 and 27, with an Air India flight bringing back 119 Indians and 5 nationals from Sri Lanka, Nepal, South Africa and Peru who were quarantined on board the Diamond Princess cruise ship off the Japanese coast.
8. India briefed the representatives of more than 130 countries and international organisations, including over 100 envoys, on Friday about the proactive steps taken by it to combat /coronavirus.
9. The Indian Embassy in Tehran successfully facilitated the evacuation of 58 Indian pilgrims from Iran on board an Indian Air Force C17 aircraft on March 10. The second batch of 44 Indian pilgrims from Iran arrived in India on March 13, while another flight returned with 234 Indians stranded in that country in the wee hours on Sunday.
10. The evacuation missions started with Wuhan when 324 Indians were brought back to Delhi on February 1. The second Air India flight brought back 323 Indian citizens and seven Maldivian citizens arrived in Delhi on February 2. The IAF flight which took the consignment to China brought back 76 Indians and 36 nationals from seven countries (23 from Bangladesh, two each Myanmar and Maldives, six from China, one each from South Africa, USA and Madagascar) to India on its return journey.
(With PTI Inputs)