Amid spiralling tensions between the United States and Iran, Punjab Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh on Sunday urged the central government to take urgent steps to ensure the safety and security of the 10 million Indians in the Gulf region. The region hosts a vast and diverse Indian diaspora employed in almost every sector from petroleum to restaurants.
"India could not afford to simply wait and watch, or to just monitor the situation, given the rising stakes in view of the threats and counter-threats between the US and Iran," said Captain Amarinder, in the context of the External Affairs Ministry's statement that it was keeping a "close watch" on the situation.
. @narendramodi ji urge you to take urgent steps to ensure safety and security of around 10 million Indians in the gulf region. We should immediately act and Punjab is ready to contribute in any way possible in same. #IranAttack #IranUSA— Capt.Amarinder Singh (@capt_amarinder) January 5, 2020
The Chief Minister emphasised that the Government of India should immediately direct its embassies in the Gulf to connect with the Indians settled there, and provide all possible help to them in this hour of crisis. Amarinder Singh also asked the Centre to prepare and initiate plans to evacuate all Indians seeking to return back should tensions flare up further. The US and other countries like Great Britain are preparing to evacuate their citizens anticipating military skirmishes.
Captain Amarinder Singh noted that the close geographical proximity of the Gulf region to India makes it imperative for the Centre to intervene without delay, and issue the necessary directions to its missions in the West Asian countries and the Indian diaspora there. The countries in the region include Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Kuwait, Bahrain, UAE, Oman, Iraq and Iran. With the conflict showing no signs of easing, the situation was evidently grave and it would be in the interest of the Indians to leave the Gulf region immediately, the CM added.
Referring to the large Punjabi and Sikh diaspora also settled in Gulf, CM Amarinder Singh assured that his government would extend all support to anyone wanted safe return back home. Punjab government officials were in direct contact with the community there and had been instructed to move swiftly in response to any plea for help, he added.