Indian workers in Gulf region Photograph:( Reuters )
Under the Vande Bharat mission, the largest repatriation mission launched by India, the maximum number of Indians came back from the Gulf and the wider Arab region.
Indians who had left the Gulf amid the COVID-19 pandemic have started to return to the region signalling a return of normalcy. An estimated 50,000 Indians have already gone back.
The secretary in the Overseas Indian Affairs (OIA) of the ministry of external affairs (MEA) Sanjay Bhattacharyya speaking at a FICCI event said,"We are happy that the return of Indian workers and professionals to the Gulf region has now begun. With the return of PRs to their families and return to Gulf of professionals in healthcare, data management, oil and construction sectors and even sports professionals, the future of our cooperation in human resources looks bright."
Under the Vande Bharat mission, the largest repatriation mission launched by India, the maximum number of Indians came back from the Gulf and the wider Arab region. At least 457596 Indians came back from the United Arab Emirates, 163851 from Saudi Arabia, 104444 from Qatar, 85498 from Oman and 90759 from Kuwait.
Indians are the largest expatriate community in the Arab world with 9 million workers and professionals which form 30 per cent of all expat workforce. Indian ex-pats remit around $48 billion to India from the Arab world.
Sanjay Bhattacharyya also highlighted India's reach out to the Arab world in the pandemic. He said, "India provided emergency medical supplies to several Arab countries, emerging as the first provider of humanitarian assistance to COVID-19."
Adding,"India was able to provide, during the pandemic, thousands of healthcare professionals to Saudi Arabia and hundreds to Kuwait, Bahrain and UAE to help them address the challenge of COVID-19. We also had cooperation in COVID-19 research and testing."
He assured vaccine availability from India to the Arab world "once the vaccine is ready."
For India, energy security forms a key component of its ties with the Arab world. India imports 53 per cent of its oil imports and 41 per cent of gas imports from the region and has stakes in oil blocks in Iraq, Syria, Libya, UAE, Yemen and South Sudan.