Arindam Bagchi, the spokesperson for the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA), said on August 27 that India has successfully evacuated over 550 people from Afghanistan by six separate flights. He further said at a press briefing that out of these 550 evacuees, 260 were Indian nationals.
News agency ANI quoted Bagchi as saying: “We have evacuated over 550 people in six separate flights, either from Kabul or Dushanbe. Of these, over 260 were Indians. The Government of India has also facilitated the evacuation of Indian nationals through other agencies. We were in touch with various countries, like the United States and Tajikistan.”
He added: “We were able to evacuate some Afghan nationals as well as nationals from other countries. Of these, many were Sikhs and Hindus. While our primary focus will be Indian nationals, we will also stand by Afghans who stood by us.”
Giving further details on India’s evacuation missions from Afghanistan following the Taliban takeover, Bagchi said: “Our overall assessment is that the vast majority of Indians who wish to return have been evacuated. Some more are likely to be in Afghanistan. I don’t have the exact number for that.”
“The last flight had 40 odd people. We were hearing reports that Afghan nationals were facing difficulties in reaching the airport. We know some Afghan nationals, including Afghan Sikhs and Hindus, could not reach the airport on August 25. Our flight had to come without them.”
Speaking about the Afghans who are seeking refuge in India, the MEA spokesperson said that the Ministry of Home Affairs has (MHA) emergency e-visas for them.
He explained: “These are six-month visas. So, they are currently coming here under the six-month visa regime. We will take it up from there.”
MEA Spokesperson Arindam Bagchi then went on to speak about the current situation in Afghanistan and said: “We continue to monitor the situation very carefully (in Afghanistan). This is an evolving situation. The situation on the ground is uncertain and our primary concern is the safety and security of people. Currently, there is no clarity about any entity forming a govt in Kabul. I think we are jumping the gun regarding recognition.”He added: “We have been seeking a peaceful, prosperous, democratic Afghanistan. We are currently monitoring it closely. The current focus is on the security situation of Afghanistan evacuations and seeing how it unfolds. Other countries are in the frame of wait and watch.”