The government has evacuated 95,665 Indians from countries affected by war, natural calamity and economic slowdowns in the past two years, reported The Indian Express. Minister of State for External Affairs VK Singh on Wednesday told the Lok Sabha that the National Democratic Alliance government had put highest priority on the safety and well-being of Indian nationals abroad.

“As per available information from Indian Missions and Posts abroad, 1,23,098 Indian nationals sought government’s support and 95,665 Indian nationals were brought back to India during the last two years,” Singh said. As many as 65,000 Indians were brought back from Nepal alone during the period. The other countries include Malaysia (12,470), Yemen (4748), Oman (3,225) and United Arab Emirates (621). Around 594 Indians are lodged in jails in Gulf countries, the Union minister informed the House.

Singh was also asked about the new travel rules put in place by Hong Kong that requires Indians to do a pre-arrival registration before travel, reported PTI. Till January 23, Indians could travel to Hong Kong without a visa and stay for 14 days.

The Union minister updated the House about the government’s exchange with Hong Kong and said the administration has been told to ensure that the new rules did not affect people-to-people exchanges. Delhi, he said, had also reminded Hong Kong of the flexible visa rules India had extended for their citizens.

“The Government of India has conveyed to Hong Kong Special Administrative Region authorities that in view of expanding people-to-people and business ties, it is important that visa and immigration systems help such exchanges and not create additional hurdles,” he said.