New Delhi, Feb 23 (IANS) India is planning to evacuate its nationals stranded in Libya, which has been hit by a political turmoil over anti-government protests seeking ouster of strongman Muammar Gaddafi.
The plans for possible evacuation through land, air and sea are at present being worked out, External Affairs Minister S.M. Krishna told the Lok Sabha Wednesday in a suo motu statement. There are about 18,000 Indians in Libya.
“We are putting in place plans for possible evacuation by land, air and sea from Libya,” he said in the statement.
Noting that Yemen and Bahrain too are witnessing violent political protests, apart from Libya, Krishna said there are a significant number of Indians in these countries and most had gone there to earn their livelihood and are contributing to the growth and development of the host countries, a fact acknowledged by these countries.
There are about 14,000 Indians in Yemen and over 3.5 lakh Indians in Bahrain, he said.
The Indian community in these troubled countries is “reportedly safe”, he added.
Krishna said the government had recently held inter-ministerial meetings to take stock of the situation in the region, its impact on the Indian and Indian-origin community in the region and the contingency plans required for them.
“We have also issued travel advisories for our nationals to avoid non-essential travel to Bahrain, Yemen and Libya. We will continue to closely monitor the situation in these countries,” he added.
With regard to Egypt, which witnessed a regime change last week, Krishna said that upon the request of the Indian community there, three special flights were arranged by Air India, which carried around 670 Indians from Cairo to Mumbai.
“This was not ‘evacuation’ and government only facilitated arrangement of the special flights of Air India to Cairo, which brought back Indians desirous of returning to India,” he clarified.