In the wake of deepening Gulf crisis that could have potential repercussions on Indian expatriates, Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan on Monday wrote to Prime Minister’s office and External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj, highlighting the state’s concern regarding the safety and future of their employment and engagement in Qatar. “I am writing this letter in the context of the developing geo-political situation in the Middle East today. As you are aware millions of Indians are working in Countries in the Middle East and therefore the geo-political developments in the region has raised deep concerns among the people in the state since each family has at least one family member or a relative in the region,” Vijayan said in a Facebook post.
In the biggest diplomatic crisis to hit the Gulf in recent years, Arab nations including Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Egypt and Bahrain severed their ties with Qatar, accusing the latter of destabilising the region. The move comes amid Qatar’s alleged backing for Islamist movements and its perceived tolerance of Saudi Arabia’s rival, Iran. These countries have also announced plans to stop all land, air and sea traffic with Qatar, which said measures were unjustified.
Nearly three lakh, out of 6.5 lakh Indians in Qatar, hail from Kerala. The Kerala CM also offered his state’s full backing for whatever decision the Centre would take in this matter. “I would like to place on record the full support of our State to the considered stance that Union Government would take on the issue, given the complexities involved,” he said.
“We do appreciate that it is a complex situation and we are in no doubt that Union Government will come out with the most appropriate diplomatic and geo-political stance in this regard taking into consideration all aspects and put in place a robust mechanism for addressing all the concerns,” Vijayan added.
The communist leader also requested that the Indian Embassy in Doha be “suitably empowered to respond presciently to the concerns of the Indian population in Qatar.”