Hundreds of US citizens, NRIs stranded in India

Image Courtesy: twitter

According to a report, 11 countries have approached India to bring their citizens home. The United States is not on the list.

The State Department lacks plan to bring back the Americans stranded in India.

Dr. Rajeev Sood and his 95-year-old mother, Kailash Sood, both US citizens, did not think that their short trip will end up being an ordeal when they left the US.

They had gone to attend a family event in India, just before the world started noticing the spread of COVID-19.  Sood has been living in Orlando for more than two decades and was scheduled to return by the end of March.

As soon as the State Department issued an advisory asking its citizens to return home, they immediately contacted their travel agent as well as the airlines to change their tickets.

Nothing happened. The web site had a permanent warning saying that the site is experiencing technical issues. Contact centers had no human staff and no new information. And emails were not responded.

After checking the US Embassy’s web site, they immediately registered themselves for the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP) hoping to get some insights from the government.

As the State Department issued an advisory that it is taking care of their citizens who are awaiting safe return, Sood was hopeful of getting some help from the US Embassy in New Delhi or the State Department in the US.

But, all they have been told, through automated messages, is “comply with Indian law”. They know nothing about their wait time and if there is any official waiting list for the citizens who want to return.

As the Government of India has ordered lock-down for at least till the end of March, which most likely will be extended for another few weeks, Sood and his mother have no information as to what help is coming if at all.

According to the State Department, about 13,500 US citizens are awaiting return. With several countries proactively bringing their citizens home, the US State Department’s lackadaisical approach and lack of a plan are raising some concerns.

According to India’s Economic Times newspaper, 11 countries have approached India to bring their citizens home. The United States is not on the list.

Canada has already organized a number of repatriation flights for their people. Canadian flights have already left for countries like Spain, Morocco, Peru, and Ecuador.

US citizens registered for the STEP program told The American Bazaar that all they are getting in emails is a repeated automated message:

“US citizens should cooperate by sheltering in place. US Citizens are required to comply with Indian law and obey directions from law enforcement officers. We are in contact with the Indian government to emphasize the need for hotels to continue to lodge US citizens.”

It also states, “The US Mission to India continues to work with the US Department of State and airline companies to arrange flights from India to the United States for US citizens. Once these flights are arranged, we will work with the Indian government to arrange to the greatest extent possible safe passage to airports for US citizens.”

The email reads, “We know there is great interest from US citizens in obtaining assistance to depart India, and we are working to support necessary arrangements. We will provide daily updates about our efforts via the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP) application. We urge US citizens to enroll in STEP at www.step.state.gov in order to receive critical information from the Embassy concerning flight opportunities.”

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3 Comments

  1. Ben Prusinksi

    GRREEAT!!! let these hindu bozos stay there, stinkin 3rd world bums, polluting the planet with their incessant lying, cheating, faking resumes, stealing jobs and causing too many crimes in the USA. No one wants Indians in their country, them and their curry smell, send them to China. I for one am sick and tired of all the filthy indian trash in the Bay area, and more coming in very day. This’ll put an end to it permanently I hope.

    • With so much venom, you must be devastated Ben. Get a life!

      • Ben Prusinski

        Quite the contrary, sittin on my patio sipping a tall cold Corona extra (the real one). Unlike all you freakin hindus drinking COW URINE………. ugghhh, nasty third world rats

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