The second phase of Vande Bharat Mission, that will run from May 16-22, also includes Canada as one of the countries from where Indian nationals would be repatriated. Speaking from Ottawa to India Today,

Indian High Commissioner Ajay Bisaria said that over 5,000 Indians have registered so far, but an overwhelming majority want to stay back.

“We have already about more than five thousand stranded Indians who have registered with us, expressing an interest in going to India. We just announced the next phase of the flights which includes five flights from Canada, this will be three from Toronto, two form Vancouver.”

He elaborated on the unique situation in Canada where most do not want to return now. He said, “We have a very interesting situation in Canada. You’ll be surprised that there are over 700,000 Indian citizens in Canada at the moment and that includes primarily 225,000 students. There are also 300,000 permanent residents, and over 160,000 work permits, business and tourist visa holders who came for a short while and got stranded… As I said 5,000 would like to go back but overwhelming majority would like to stay on. A lot of the Indian citizens who are staying on have issues of their own, particularly students. So our approach was to help those who wanted to leave to plan the exit flights and for those who want to stay the attempt is to make life as comfortable as we possibly can.”

The Indian envoy also emphasised on the need to engage each other on the economic front as the world is looking at a global recession.

“We had the recent conversation between Prime Minister Modi and Prime Minister Trudeau on the 28th of April, which was an excellent conversation, they touched on the welfare of students and the evacuation of citizen. They touched upon issues also like, you know, pandemic times keeping global supply chains impact,” he said.

Canada had also received Hydroxychloroquine from India. The focus of both countries is also in the pharma sector and ways to promote cooperation on that front.

“We are talking about medium-term of the exit plan, the recovery plan from this crisis and we also are looking at the long term, with economic stimulus packages” he added.

The second phase of Vande Bharat Mission from 16-22 May will bring back Indians from 31 countries. Additional 18 countries covered under the second phase include Indonesia, Thailand, Australia, Italy, France, Germany, Ireland, Canada, Japan, Nigeria, Kazakhstan, Ukraine, Krgyzstan, Belarus, Georgia, Tajikistan and Armenia.

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