Israel to resume flights to India

By PTI
NEW DELHI: The Ministry of External Affairs Thursday said it hopes that with the COVID-19 situation in India vastly improved, foreign nations would ease travel restrictions from India, and asserted that it is taking up the issue with partners, including in the Gulf.

MEA Spokesperson Arindam Bagchi said the government is actively trying to help Indians who need to travel back to various countries across the world.

“As we have said earlier, we hope that with the vastly improved Covid situation in India, countries would ease restrictions for travel from India. We have been taking up this issue with foreign partners wherever possible,” Bagchi said when asked about problems being faced by Indians in traveling to other countries, especially Gulf nations.

He also said External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar and Minister of State for External Affairs V Muraleedharan recently held a meeting with Indian Ambassadors in Gulf countries.

“Our Ambassadors were requested to take up with their host countries the issue of resumption of flights with India,” he said, referring to the meeting.

The external affairs minister has also raised this issue during bilateral meetings on the margins of the recently held G-20 ministerial meeting in Italy, Bagchi told an online media briefing.

Foreign Secretary Harsh Vardhan Shringla has also raised with his counterparts the issue of normalisation of travel and mobility of students, professionals and enabling family reunions, he said.

“So, in summary, we are actively trying to help Indians who need to travel back to various countries across the world,” the MEA spokesperson said.

On a question on the extradition of Mehul Choksi and Nirav Modi from Dominica and the UK respectively, Bagchi said he had no update to share on the legal proceedings underway in the cases and added that the ministry would continue to closely follow developments in this regard.

Asked about Britain’s Cairn Energy Plc securing a French court order to seize some 20 Indian government properties in Paris to recover a part of the USD 1.72 billion due from New Delhi following an arbitration panel overturning levy of retrospective taxes, Bagchi told the media to refer to the Finance Ministry statement on it.

The Finance Ministry has said it has not received any order from any French court and will take appropriate legal remedies after it gets an order.

On the criticism from some international quarters over the death of rights activist Father Stan Swamy, Bagchi said the MEA had issued a statement on it a couple of days ago and there was nothing to add to that.

India had on Tuesday rejected such criticism and said the due process of law was followed in his case and that the authorities act against violations of law and do not restrain legitimate exercise of rights.

Eighty-four-year-old Stan Swamy, who was arrested last year under the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act in connection with the Elgar Parishad case, died in a Mumbai hospital on Monday.

Asked about the issue of French probe into the Rafale jets deal, Bagchi asked the media to refer to the Defence Ministry over the issue.