With the situation in Libya remaining volatile, the government on Wednesday said it was putting in place plans for possible evacuation of Indians in Libya, numbering around 18,000.
Making a suo motu statement in the Lok Sabha, External Affairs minister S M Krishna said the government was closely monitoring the situation in Libya, Yemen and Bahrain and inter-ministerial meetings have been held to take stock of the situation in the region.
"I have personally been in touch with our ambassadors in these countries and have conveyed that all measures should be taken for the safety and welfare of our nationals there," he said. He informed the House that the External Affairs Ministry and Indian embassies concerned have set up round-the-clock helplines to help Indians.
With regard to Libya where the situation continues to be volatile, Krishna said, "We are putting in place plans for possible evacuation by land, air and sea." He noted that "violent political protests" are being witnessed in Libya, as also Yemen and Bahrain which have a significant Indian community, most of whom have gone there to earn their livelihood and have been contributing to the growth and development of the host country.
"Our embassies have been in close and regular contact with the Indian community," the minister said. There are about 350,000 Indians in Bahrain and 14,000 in Yemen.
Referring to Egypt which also witnessed political upheaval recently, Krishna said upon request from the Indian community, three special flights were arranged by Air India, which carried around 670 Indians from Cairo to Mumbai. "This was not 'evacuation' and government only facilitated arrangement of the special flights of Air India to Cairo which brought back Indians desirous of returning to India," he underlined.