Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi addresses the nation on COVID-19, in New Delhi on Tuesday. India ordered a 21-day lockdown of its 1.3 billion people to prevent the spread of the coronavirus. Image Credit: ANI

Indians stranded outside the country are appealing to Prime Minister Modi to allow them to return home. India is one of a few countries in the world that has barred its own citizens outside the country from returning, by imposing international travel bans, as the world deals with the coronavirus pandemic.

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Many Indians have taken to Twitter to request the Prime Minister to open international flights for repatriation of stranded citizens, and others have called out the Indian government on their earlier decision of not evacuating stranded citizens.

Indian Ambassador to the UAE, Pavan Kapoor, told Gulf News on April 11 that the Indian government has taken the decision for the safety of Indians. And, that the country cannot take the risk of evacuating a large number of people from foreign countries while it is concentrating on breaking the chain of infection inside the country.

The Indian government had “refused permission to chartered flight services even though some airlines were ready to operate special flights”.

Last week, a petition seeking chartered flights to fly back Indians stranded in the UAE was also filed before the Supreme Court of India by the migrant welfare society Pravasi Legal Cell.

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The UAE has offered to fly stranded Indians and citizens of other countries, who wish to be repatriated, if they test negative for COVID-19, the UAE’s Ambassador to India Dr Ahmed Abdul Rahman Al Banna told Gulf News on Saturday. But, there has been no response from India over allowing flights to land in the country.

And tweep @sumanthraman posted: "Many Indian citizens are stuck in UAE and want to return. UAE Govt wants to send them back. But India is not willing to take them. Why?..."

As reported by Gulf News yesterday, the UAE's Ministry of Human Resources and Emiratisation is considering several options to restructure its cooperation and labour relations with countries refusing to receive their nationals working in the UAE private sector, an official source from the ministry revealed on April 12.

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Meanwhile, some Twitter users were seen appealing to leaders in countries where they were stranded, to help, since the Indian government seemed to be unhelpful in this regard.

India is set to extend the world's biggest pandemic lockdown for two weeks. The three-week lockdown is due to end Tuesday.