NEW DELHI: People can expect some announcement next week on the return of Indians stranded abroad due to non-operation of flights amid the ongoing lockdown to combat the novel coronavirus, Minister of State for External Affairs V Muraleedharan said on Thursday.
Talking to PTI over the phone, he said that there were so many Indians stranded. "Flights should be available for them. Unless the international flights are operated we can't do anything for their travel back to India," he said.
However, the respective Indian embassies and consulates, in cooperation with the governments there, are helping all those Indians seeking assistance by way of food, medical facilities and accommodation in every possible way, he said.
Asked whether there could be some announcement to enable Indians abroad to travel back to the home land, Muraleedharan said, "Expect something next week." The ongoing nationwide lockdown is scheduled to end on May 3.
About media reports that the government might deploy commercial as well as IAF aircraft and naval ships to bring back Indians from various countries, he said, "No decision has been taken so far. We have not issued any official statement or press release."
The minister, who is a Rajya Sabha member, said that some foreign nationals who are stranded in India due to non-availability of flights, are being evacuated by their respective governments by operating special flights.
He said that the Ministry of External Affairs gives some permissions and the rest of evacuation processes are handled by the DGCA, and health and home ministries. Many Indians, including those in senior positions, are stranded abroad unable to return due to non-operation of flights. Chief Election Commissioner Sunil Arora is among those stuck in the United States.