No request has been received regarding evacuation of Indian citizens from the Gulf countries in the wake of COVID-19 pandemic, Air Vice-Marshal Surat Singh, Assistant Chief of Air Staff Operations said on Sunday.
"We have not received any specific request for the evacuation of Indian citizens from the Gulf countries in the wake of COVID-19 pandemic as of now. But we will undertake the activity as and when the orders come," Singh said while speaking to news agency ANI. He added, "We have also supplied materials for Nepal. We are ready to tackle any contingency both within and outside the country."
Speaking on Indian Air Force's gesture towards Covid warriors on Sunday, he said, "Air Force's four transport aircraft, over 10 fighter aircraft and 15-20 helicopters participated in the aerial salute to COVID-19 warriors." The activities were part of the initiative by defence forces' to show solidarity of the frontline soldiers with the Corona warriors who have been working tirelessly during these difficult times.
Meanwhile, Indian Navy Chief Admiral Karambir Singh on Friday stated that the Navy is ready to evacuate all Indians who are stuck in Gulf countries. Admiral Singh added that the Navy will proceed with the plans once the Central government approves the plan.
Speaking at a press conference, he said, "We have a large diaspora in the Gulf. We were informed that we must be ready for evacuation, all of us together will carry out the evacuation. We have readied our ships and will go for the evacuation as soon as we get the go-ahead."
"It does not have to be one trip, it could be more trips. It can be a continuous process depending on the numbers," he added.
Amid the coronavirus scare, thousands of Indian citizens have expressed willingness to come back to India from the Gulf countries, but due to suspension of air operations and other modes of travel, they have been stranded there. The China-originated Coronavirus has raged across continents, killing people and crippling economies. The oil and gas-rich Middle Eastern countries have also been affected by the deadly pathogen.