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Swap Indians on Charter Planes meant for Bringing Brits back from India, says Keith Vaz

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UK Charter Planes to India
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The UK Government is planning seven charter flings to India to repatriate British nationals stranded in the country and obviously the planes are going to fly empty from the UK to India, but if the Indians stranded in the UK are ferried back to India then it will be a matter of “Humanitarian Swap” says the former Labour MP Kieth Vaz. But will that happen in reality??

There are several Indians, especially students have been stranded in the UK and they desperately want to come back to India and ready to pay for the same, but the planes which are flying between the UK and India are not transporting them due to the restrictions from Indian Government.   

According to the reports, the UK is preparing to fly seven charter planes to India next week to bring back Britons left stranded by the 21-day lockdown. The former Labour MP Kieth Vaz wants the planes to ferry the stranded Indians back to India on the same plane.        

“We need a humanitarian swap. There are so many Indian nationals here, and they need to go back to India. What is the point of sending empty planes? This is a unique opportunity. We should take Indian citizens back to India,” the Indian-origin MP, who represented Leicester East from 1987 to 2019, told TOI.

According to the reports, around 60 students, mostly from south India had been camping in the visa section of the Indian High Commission in London in the hope of being airlifted back to India.

It is not that only the students had been stranded in the UK, but there are many Indians including the business traveller and tourists have been stranded across the country since March 18, said the sources.   

India issued a travel advisory preventing its own citizens in the UK from returning until March 31 which followed by the temporary ban on inbound international passenger flights from March 26 to April 14.       

In India, more than 20,000 UK nationals have been stuck since flights were suspended. The UK on Sunday announced seven charter flights to bring them back – part of a £75 million package announced last week. The first set of flights will bring Britons from Goa, Mumbai and Delhi between April 8 and 12.    

Sonu Yugnath from Hyderabad, one of the students who had camped in the high commission, said: “If planes are going back to India, why can’t they put us on them?” but his question remains unanswered.     

Indian National Student Association president Amit Tiwari told TOI that he estimated there were 8,000 to 10,000 Indian students in the UK waiting for an opportunity to leave.

“They would rather be at home…The problem is if any of them have COVID -19, even unknowingly, that’s a whole new risk for 1.3 billion people. Once the restrictions are lifted, they will be able to go back. These fights (arranged by the UK) are only for British citizens.”

Source: TOI

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