India and Canada have long had a very good relationship, with both nations frequently collaborating and working together on various projects. This friendship came to the fore recently, during the global coronavirus pandemic, as both nations have been trying to help their citizens stranded in the other country reach home safely.
There are estimated to be over 300,000 Indians, including 200,000 students, in Canada, with the Indian government working with the Indian High Commission and its various Consulates in Canada, in ensuring that their well-being is maintained. India’s national carrier, Air India, recently operated five flights out of Canada to bring back some of these stranded Indian nationals, with over 1,400 Indians being brought back through these flights. There are plans to operate more flights as well, with over 5,000 Indians have registered with the High Commission for these flights, and all of these travelers will have to undergo a 14-day quarantine period once they are back in India. Many of them are tourists who got stuck when lockdowns were announced, and so they are desperate to return to India.
At the same time, there are over 40,000 Canadians who are stuck in India, and the Indian and Canadian governments worked together to help them out as well. There have been 14 special flights that have been scheduled to fly out these Canadians, with the latest one having departed from Kolkata in the eastern part of the country. At the same time, Canada is also receiving a consignment of one million tablets of hydroxychloroquine from India. The drug has been reported to have some benefits against the coronavirus pandemic, although the medical community is still undecided on its actual effects against the virus, and has cautioned against thinking of it as a cure for the virus itself.
India has not just been helping out Canadians. There have been relief and repatriation efforts that have been carried out for citizens of various countries, from all across India, with even private companies and organizations lending a hand where they can.
One of the biggest and most praiseworthy examples of this comes from the state of Goa, which is one of India’s most popular tourist destinations, due to its beaches, nightlife, and casinos. Goa is one of the very few places in India where casinos are allowed to operate, and this leads to a flood of tourists, both domestic and international, to the state every year. However, with the central government abruptly announcing a national lockdown on 24th March, and having banned international flights a few days previously, a number of these tourists were left stranded. This is where the Goan casino industry stepped in and helped a lot of these tourists. The Casino Pride Group, for example, one of the biggest VIP casino real money brands in the country, took 25 Georgian nationals in and provided them with free food and accommodation till the lockdown does not get lifted, and flights can be arranged for them to fly back.
At the same time, many casino operators have been donating heavily to the various relief funds, with the Deltin Group contributing five million rupees to the Goa Chief Minister’s Relief Fund, for example. These casino operators are also using their logistics to manage delivery and transport of essential items and medicines in some parts of the state, while some groups are providing meals to on-duty policemen and healthcare workers. This has been a boon for the state government, as most of the state is semi-rural, and connectivity is not the best. India has been one of the leaders in terms of helping other countries during this time, and it has been especially heartening to see private companies also pitch in and do their bit to try and provide relief wherever possible
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