LONDON: The Indian High commissioner to the UK, Ruchi Ghanashyam has said that the Indian mission has set up a team of officers who are in touch with those Indian nationals who need medical assistance. As the COVID-19 crisis impacts the UK in a major way, the Indian mission in the UK is reaching out to the Indian community in several ways including working with diaspora organisations to provide subsidised accommodation and food to stranded Indians.
In a interview with DNA’s diplomatic correspondent Sidhant Sibal, the Indian High commissioner said that the Indian mission has set up a team of officers who are in touch with those Indian nationals who need medical assistance. For Indian students, “guidance is in place for their non-eviction”. On the visa issue, Ghanashyam said that Indians won’t be unfairly penalised and that UK visas stand extended till May 31.
Notably, the UK foreign office has tweeted in appreciation after receiving paracetamol tablets from India. Responding to a question related to India-UK collaboration, Ruchi Ghanashyam said that both the countries are working closely to address the humanitarian crisis emanating from COVID-19 pandemic and to find ways to minimise the impact of this crisis on our economies. India has supplied essential medicines such as paracetamol as a friendly gesture to the UK despite increasing domestic demand for medicines in India. We have also extended full support to the UK government’s evacuation efforts to bring British citizens back. These steps underline India’s commitment to work with the UK during this unprecedented crisis. I thank the UK government for responding to our call to help Indian citizens, including a large number of students, stranded in the UK whose visas were expiring. Clear guidance has been made available to Indian citizens in the UK for extension of their visas. Guidance is also available for international students regarding their stay in university hostels and helpful guidance is in place for their non-eviction. India and the UK are strategic partners and work closely in multilateral fora including the G-20, to address global concerns and challenges. Recently, on March 26, India and the UK attended the extraordinary G-20 Leaders’ Summit.
Thousands of Indian citizens, including students, short term visa holder professionals, businesspersons and tourists, and many others are unable to return to India due to the COVID-19 related travel restrictions. The main challenges facing the High Commission were being able to address the concerns of the stranded Indians, relating to accommodation, food, medicines/healthcare, and visa extension.Two emergency helplines: 07768-765035 and 07739-363521 and two email ids – firstname.lastname@example.org / email@example.com are kept operational round the clock.