PM Modi gets a SOS message from UAE for Indian healthcare personnel
The United Arab Emirates has requested the government to send Indian doctors and nurses to help the Emirates fight the Covid-19 pandemic, a senior government official said on Tuesday.
The UAE, a federation of seven emirates with a population of less than 10 million people, has already reported 11,000 Covid-19 cases and has been adding an average of 500 patients every day.
It relies heavily on foreign-educated doctors and paramedics including those from India to staff its hospitals.
Some of them were on leave when governments in Delhi and Abu Dhabi cancelled all commercial flights to stop the coronavirus diseases from spreading their respective countries.
"We have received two requests. One, to allow the healthcare providers who were travelling to India when commercial flights were cancelled to return to UAE to resume their duties," a top government functionary told Hindustan Times.
The second, is permission to hire or avail the services of doctors and nurses for a shorter duration to tide over the immediate crisis.
"The requests are being considered of the government," the official said.
Officials said Abu Dhabi had offered to send a special plane to fly the Indian healthcare professionals employed by its hospitals.
Considering the nature of the relationship between the two countries, the first request is likely to be processed first, another official said.
The request for additional doctors and paramedical staff, however, requires wider consultations within the government, the official said. The decision would be made after evaluating India's requirements at this stage.
But the effort is to find a way out to help UAE at this crucial juncture.
Just a fortnight back, India had sent a 15-member team of military doctors and paramedics to Kuwait and promised to deploy more personnel should the need arise.
These gestures, a foreign ministry official said, should be seen against the backdrop of how ties between India and the Gulf countries had deepened over the last five-six years.
Right from the beginning of the NDA government's first term, Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his key advisers have invested diplomatic energy in improving ties with countries in West Asia, particularly Saudi Arabia, UAE, Jordan, Bahrain, Qatar and Oman
In 2015, Narendra Modi was the first Indian PM to visit the UAE - also home to 3.4 million Indian workers - in over three decades. In all, the six Gulf countries - Saudi Arabia. Kuwait, Oman, Qatar and Bahrain - have about 12.6 million Indians.
The personal relations started paying off within a few years when National Security Adviser Ajit Doval was able to persuade the Gulf countries to either push out anti-Indian elements or send them over to India.
It was a reflection of this high-octane diplomacy at work that Dubai handed over Dawood Ibrahim associate and 1993 Mumbai blasts accused, Mohammed Farooq and Saudi Arabia deported Lashkar-e-Taiba operative Habibur Rahman. In all, over a 100 wanted persons have been deported to India by the Gulf countries over the last six years. Last year, UAE allowed Indian agencies to fly out AgustaWestland case accused Rajiv Saxena and prominent aviation lobbyist Deepak Talwar in a special plane.
More recently, UAE made an exception for Indians when it started packing off foreign nationals from nearly every other country including Pakistan after the outbreak of coronavirus disease. Since state governments in India weren't geared up to accommodate the Indian citizens abroad, the Indian government had requested to take care of them for some more time. India, on its part, had assured the Gulf countries that New Delhi would maintain uninterrupted supply of food and essential items from India.
(Inputs and image from hindustantimes.com)