New Delhi: India should prepare a database of its nationals abroad to deal with any possible emergency situation, a parliamentary committee said Wednesday, citing the implications of the recent crisis in Afghanistan and the conflict in Ukraine for the security of Indians.
The parliamentary committee on the Ministry of External Affairs, in a report, also recommended that a standard operating procedure (SOP) should be put in place for evacuation of Indian nationals from abroad in case of exigencies and the same may be made available at all Indian missions and posts.
“The recent political crisis in Afghanistan and conflict in Ukraine is a gross reminder about the implications on safety and security of Indian nationals,” the committee said.
In its report tabled in Parliament, the committee described as “commendable” the MEA’s role in the evacuation of stranded Indians from Afghanistan and Ukraine.
Last August, India launched an evacuation mission called “Operation Devi Shakti” to bring back the Indians from Afghanistan after the Taliban seized power in Kabul following the withdrawal of the American troops from that country by the US.
India launched “Operation Ganga” on February 26 to evacuate its nationals from Ukraine after Russia launched an attack on the eastern European country. India ensured the return of over 22,000 of its citizens from Ukraine following the conflict.
The committee said it was aware that during outbreak of conflict or any other exigencies, the evacuation of Indian citizens is planned on a case-to-case basis.
“The committee desire that a database of Indian nationals abroad may be prepared and updated on a regular basis for emergency situations,” it said.
“Furthermore, a standard operating procedure (SOP) for evacuation of Indian nationals stranded in exigencies must also be chalked out and the same may be made available at all Indian missions/posts abroad,” it added.
Commenting on the “skewed” gender representation within MEA, the committee said the percentage of women is 19.65 per cent at the level of gazetted officers and 14.21 per cent at the non-gazetted level.
It also noted that only 15 woman officers are posted as heads of missions.
The committee, however, noted that there is no gender-based reservation in direct recruitment to the Indian Foreign Service (IFS) or in induction and promotion to IFS from the feeder grade.
“Over the issue of skewed gender representation within MEA, the committee has reiterated its earlier recommendation that the ministry should ensure improvement in internal practices on occupational equality including career progression, promotion, training and appointments to higher ranks,” it said.
“The ministry should also undertake a thorough and comparative cross-service analysis of the reason behind the skewed gender intake ratio and apprise the committee about the findings of the same,” it added.