A new website has been launched to help the large number of foreign nationals currently stuck in India.
With all domestic and international flights suspended as part of lockdown measures to prevent the spread of coronavirus, foreigners in India face a very worrying and uncertain time.
To help those travellers, the Ministry of Tourism has created a new digital platform, Stranded in India.
The website states:
“The world is facing an unprecedented situation today. The Ministry of Tourism is with you in these difficult times. We are truly committed towards the safety of one and all. If you are a foreign traveller stranded anywhere in India due to the COVID-19 pandemic, we can help you get in touch with the concerned authorities.”
The site provides information and contact details for the local helplines in each of India’s states and union territories. It also gives a whats app number for the India Covid-19 helpesk.
UK promises more charter flights
Yesterday, UK foreign secretary Dominic Raab said charter flights are already up and running from the UK, so far to Ghana and Tunisia.
But he offered some reassurance to Brits in India when he added: "We will add more countries this week with the aim of bringing people back from countries such as India and South Africa where large numbers of British travellers are stuck and commercial routes are completely suspended.
"We are negotiating intensely with countries around the world to secure permissions for return flights where airspace has been closed."
'100 Brits in Jalandhar'
Brian Sangha, a 72-year-old councillor from Kent who is stuck in India, welcomed the foreign secretary’s announcement, though he said it raised a lot of questions.
Mr Sangha said he is one of about 100 British citizens stranded in and around the city of Jalandhar, in the northwestern state of Punjab.
He said: "There is a lot of detail missing. What constitutes as vulnerable and, logistically, how do we get people from where they are now into the airports?
"The tricky bit is people travel in groups such as families of four, what does that mean for them? Will the vulnerable person go first and the others get separated?
"There is a lack of clarity over how arrangements will work and how people will be shifted across the country, especially countries in lockdown."
Any initiatives such as the new website are welcome, but I’m not sure that stranded foreigners will feel much better until they get a confirmed flight back.
We wish everybody a safe return to their home country as soon as possible!
How do you feel about the new Stranded In India website?