New Delhi [India], December 31 (ANI): Shiv Sena Rajya Sabha lawmaker Priyanka Chaturvedi on Thursday wrote to External Affairs Minister Subrahmanyam Jaishankar urging him to prioritise the rescue and evacuation of 39 Indian sailors stranded in Chinese waters.
Chaturvedi emphasised that most of the sailors are from Maharashtra and their families have been running from pillar to post with no help in sight and that the government should address their plea earnestly.
"This letter is to bring to your notice a serious issue of about 39 of our sailors stranded in Chinese waters since a few months. They have been stranded on board for over a year now. They have been left to their fate without much support from Government of India and it distresses me to see that their families are still struggling to get them back home," Chaturvedi wrote in the letter to Jaishankar.
Asserting that families of the sailors, many of whom are based in Maharashtra, have been running from pillar to post with no help in sight, she requested to Jaishankar that "we prioritise this issue and give it the importance it deserves. Trade disputes between countries are not new however we cannot make our citizens the sacrificial lambs in this dispute. This impasse needs to be resolved at the earliest and our sailors brought back home."
"As we begin 2021, we must be empathetic and sensitive to our fellow citizens who in the hope of a better life for themselves and their families take up tough assignments. That they are being punished for it is shameful and saddening. I hope you will take cognisance of this matter and evacuate them at the earliest," she added.
Earlier on December 24, the Ministry of External Affairs had said that India is in constant touch with the Chinese government regarding stranded Indian ships in China's ports.
"Cargo vessel MV Jagannath is on anchorage near Jingtang port in China since June 13 and has 23 Indian nationals on board. Another vessel, MV Anastasia, which has 16 Indian nationals is on anchorage near the Caofeidian port in China since September 20. Both ships are waiting for discharge of cargo," MEA spokesperson Anurag Srivastava had said during the weekly virtual press conference.
"Our embassy in Beijing has been in constant touch with provincial and central government authorities in China in this matter. They are requesting that the ships be allowed to discharge their cargo as well as crew members be allowed to be changed," he had said.
He had added the Chinese authorities have conveyed to India that due to the COVID-19 restrictions, the crew change is not permitted from these ports. (ANI)