India to provide refuge to Afghan Sikhs, Hindus & others looking for help: PM Modi
In the backdrop of the Afghanistan crisis, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Tuesday held the meeting of the Cabinet Committee on Security. The meet saw a full-fledged briefing on the current situation in Afghanistan but also focus on the evacuation of Indian nationals and vulnerable Afghans, especially the minorities.
During the meeting, Prime Minister Modi, according to senior officials, said, "India must not only protect our citizens, but we must also provide refuge to those Sikh and Hindu minorities, who want to come to India, and we must also provide all possible help to our Afghan brothers and sisters, who are looking towards India for assistance."
Remember, India has opened emergency E visas for Afghans, who want to come to India. A 24x7 Special Afghanistan Cell has been brought into the function to coordinate the repatriation and requests from Afghanistan. India aims to give visas to Afghan officials, who worked for India, members of the civil society, and journalists.
Around 1,650 Indian nationals have requested for repatriation. Before Kabul fell into the hands of the Taliban on August 15, India had got 1,500 requests from Indians wanting to come back. Since August 15, India got 150 requests of Indians wanting to come. India is looking to get services of foreign commercial airlines, including the likes of Qatar for evacuation of its nationals.
The Prime Minister has instructed all "concerned officials to undertake all necessary measures to ensure the safe evacuation of Indian nationals from Afghanistan in the coming days", sources highlighted.
Indian mission in Kabul had issued four security advisories asking Indians to leave the country and in the latest release by MEA pointed out that, "Those already in Afghanistan were urged to return immediately while others were advised not to travel there."
During the meet, a detailed briefing was given to the prime minister on the current security and political situation in Afghanistan, including the recent evacuation of Indian officials, members of the Indian media, and others. The initial plan was to evacuate Indian officials from Kabul from August 17 to 21 but this was preponed as the Taliban entered Kabul.
The meeting was attended by Defence Minister Rajnath Singh, Home Minister Amit Shah and Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman. Other than that, senior officials including Principal Secretary to PM Dr P K Mishra, NSA Ajit Doval, and Cabinet Secretary Rajeev Gauba were also present. Foreign Secretary Harsh Vardhan Shringla and Indian envoy to Kabul Rudrendra Tandon were also present. Important to note that Tandon had arrived on Tuesday on the C-17 flight from Kabul to Hindon via Jamnagar.