The Indian Embassy in the United Arab Emirates and the United States have started online registration to contact Indian nationals who are stranded in the two countries because of the lockdown imposed to contain the coronavirus pandemic, PTI reported on Thursday. However, no date of travel has been announced yet.
This came days after the Centre had indicated that it would take a decision on bringing back Indians stranded abroad once it assesses the Covid-19 situation.
The Indian Embassy in UAE on Wednesday started creating a database of Indians who are stranded there and launched an online portal for them. “The details can be entered through the website of the Embassy www.indianembassyuae.gov.in or Consulate www.cgidubai.gov.in by following the link ‘Register in Database of Indians to Travel Back to India under COVID-19 situation’,” India in Dubai tweeted on Thursday.
However, minutes after posting the tweet, the mission deleted it citing technical issues, according to PTI. On Thursday, the Consulate General of India in Dubai posted the link again, but warned it may take “some time for the page to load due to high traffic”.
The form provided by Indian Embassy is eligible for one individual at a time. Families need to fill separate forms for each member, while companies too will have to fill separate forms for each employee. It was also clarified that the decision on resumption of passenger flights to India will be taken in due course.
Meanwhile, the Indian Embassy in the United States has also started sending emails to community organisations and other Indians who had contacted them recently. Those interested in travelling back home can register at indianembassyusa.gov.in, the embassy said.
While there is no official estimate on the number of Indians currently stranded in the United States, many of them are believed to be students, whose universities have shut down amid the lockdown. Many of them have reportedly ran out of money.
“The Indian-American community has shown leadership in these difficult times and their spirit of service is commendable,” India’s Ambassador to the US, Taranjit Singh Sandhu, said “They have been working closely with the Embassy and Consulates to provide assistance to our nationals.”
On April 10, the government had said a decision to bring Indians stranded abroad will be taken after reviewing the Covid-19 situation.
Ministry of External Affairs Additional Secretary Dammu Ravi had said: “Some questions have come about Indians abroad. It is a situation where we cannot give a definite answer because the lockdown is still there. We need to assess the situation It will be the government’s decision on how we manage the return of Indians from other countries.”
Last week, Minister of State for External Affairs V Muraleedharan urged citizens who are stranded abroad to be patient till May 3.