Indians in Lebanon reassessing stay
At least 12,000 Indians in Lebanon are reassessing their future in the country with Israel mounting attacks.india Updated: Jul 19, 2006 12:55 IST
The majority of the 12,000 Indians in Lebanon are reassessing their future in the country following renewed hostilities between the Israeli forces and the Hezbollah and might want to leave, the Indian envoy in Beirut says.
"I would say they are undertaking a rational reassessment of their stay (in Lebanon," ambassador Nengcha Lhouvum told the agency on the phone from Beirut on Tuesday.
"There is a feeling that things are not likely to improve in the next few months or years so it would be better to leave," she added.
Asked if there was a sense of panic among the Indians in Lebanon, the ambassador replied in the negative.
Asked about plans to evacuate the Indian nationals in case the situation worsens, she said this was being worked out in consultation with the external affairs ministry here.
Forty-nine Indians were on Monday evacuated from Beirut and driven to Syrian capital Damascus.
"We should have concrete plans put in place in the next couple of days. The Indian Navy has four ships (off the Lebanese coast and this will be factored in)," the envoy added.
The navy vessels - a destroyer, two frigates and a tanker - were on their way home after an overseas deployment to eastern Mediterranean ports and were about to enter the Suez Canal when they were ordered to turn around after the situation in Lebanon worsened. The vessels are now in international waters off the Lebanese coast.
Asked for the ground situation in Beirut, which has been repeatedly bombed by the Israeli forces in retaliation for the kidnapping of two of their soldiers, Lhouvum replied: "The situation is not improving. New targets are being hit".
Ninety-nine per cent of the Indians in Lebanon work as labourers or in factories and on farms. There is a small percentage of technical workers and business executives.