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Hon'ble Prime Minister of India conveyed Eid-Al-Fitr greetings to HM the King and HRH the Crown Prince and Prime Minister of Kingdom of Bahrain, 21 April 2023

Hon’ble Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi sent letters of greetings to His Majesty King Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa and His Royal Highness Prince Salman bin Hamad Al Khalifa, the Crown Prince and Prime Minister on the auspicious occasion of Eid Al Fitr.

2. He conveyed that over the past one month, Muslims in India and across the world have observed the holy month of Ramadan. As they prepare now for celebrating Eid Al Fitr with traditional fervour, people across the world also get reminded of the values of brotherhood and togetherness.

3. On behalf of the people of India, and on his own behalf, Prime Minister Modi extended his warm greetings to the Leadership, Government, and the people of the Kingdom of Bahrain, wishing peace, harmony, good health, and happiness for all. Source: Embassy of India, Manama.


Prime Minister extended greetings on the occasion of Eid Al Fitr, 22 April 2023

On the auspicious occasion of Eid Al Fitr, Prime Minister Narendra Modi extended greetings to Supreme Leader Ayatollah Seyyed Ali Hosseini Khamenei, President Ebrahim Raisi and the people of the Islamic Republic of Iran and wished for peace, harmony, good health and happiness. In his greetings, Prime Minister Narendra Modi highlighted the values of brotherhood and togetherness. Source: Embassy of India, Tehran.

Raksha Mantri holds bilateral meeting with his Iranian counterpart on the sidelines of SCO Defence Ministers’ Meeting in New Delhi, 27 April 2023

Raksha Mantri Shri Rajnath Singh held a bilateral meeting with Iran's Minister of Defence and Armed Forces Logistics Brigadier General Mohammed Reza Gharaei Ashtiyani in New Delhi on April 27, 2023. The meeting took place in a cordial and warm atmosphere. Both the leaders emphasised on the age-old cultural, linguistic and civilizational ties between the two countries, including people-to-people connect.

Both the Ministers reviewed the bilateral defence cooperation and exchanged views on regional security issues, including peace and stability in Afghanistan. Further, the two Ministers discussed the development of the International North South Transport corridor to ease logistic problems to Afghanistan and other countries in Central Asia. 

The Iranian Defence Minister is visiting Delhi at the invitation of the Raksha Mantri to attend the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) Defence Ministers’ Meeting, to be held on April 28, 2023. Source: Press Information Bureau.


PM congratulates Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu and people of Israel on their 75th Anniversary of Independence, 26 April 2023

The Prime Minister, Shri Narendra Modi has congratulated Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu and people of Israel on their 75th Anniversary of Independence.

In a series of tweets, the Prime Minister tweeted:

“Heartiest congratulations to my friend @netanyahu and the people of Israel on the 75th anniversary of independence. Mazel Tov!” Source: Press Information Bureau.


His Excellency Prime Minister of India Shri Narendra Modi conveys warm greetings to His Majesty King Mohammed Vl on the occasion of Eid Al Fitr, 22 April 2023

His Excellency Prime Minister of India Shri Narendra Modi conveyed warm greetings to His Majesty King Mohammed Vl and the people of Kingdom of Morocco on the auspicious occasion of the festival of Eid Al Fitr.

In a personal message addressed to His Majesty King Mohammed VI, His Excellency Prime Minister of India Shri Narendra Modi conveyed that as Muslims in India and all over the world celebrate Eid Al Fitr with traditional fervour after the holy month of Ramadan, the world is also reminded of the values of brotherhood and togetherness.

His Excellency Prime Minister of India Shri Narendra Modi also expressed his hope and prayed for peace, harmony, good health and happiness for peoples across the world on the festival of Eid Al Fitr. Source: Embassy of India, Rabat.


Embassy of India’s Annual Ramadan Blood Donation Drive, 16 April 2023

Embassy of India’s Annual Ramadan Blood Donation Drive for 2023 organized in association with the Health Ministry of Oman was inaugurated today by Minister of Health of Oman H.E. Dr.  Hilal bin Ali Al-Sabti. The blood donation drive is an important initiative by the Embassy of India to help address the shortage of blood at Oman’s blood banks, usually experienced during the holy month of Ramadan. The weeklong drive is being simultaneously organized in Muscat, Salalah and Sohar.

This is the second consecutive year that the Embassy of India has organized the blood donation drive during the holy month of Ramadan. Last year's drive was a resounding success, with an overwhelming participation of more than 1500 people contributing 1397 units of blood. This year's drive is set to exceed expectations in terms of participation and enthusiasm.

The Hon’ble Minister of Health H.E. Hilal Al Sabti spoke to the media after the inauguration and emphasized the importance of blood donation in saving lives. He also appreciated the efforts of the Indian community in Oman for their wholehearted participation in the drive and promoting the cause of blood donation.

The Ambassador of India to the Sultanate of Oman H.E Amit Narang said that the Indian community in Oman remains committed to supporting the health needs of the local society, especially during the holy month of Ramadan when our local Omani friends are involved in fasting and prayers.

The Embassy extends its appreciation to all the participants who generously donated blood and helped make the event a success and acknowledges in particular the support extended by Sewa International, Bahwan Engineering Group, Al Naba Group, Al Ansari Group, Al Tasnim Group, Indian Social Club branches in Salalah and Sohar, various Yoga organizations in Oman, the Indian Schools in Oman, Lulu Hypermarket, and others for making the blood donation drive a resounding success. Source: Embassy of India, Muscat.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi sends Eid greetings to Sultan Haitham bin Tarikis Majesty, 21 April 2023

Prime Minister of India Shri Narendra Modi has extended his sincere greetings to His Majesty Sultan Haitham bin Tarik and the friendly people of the Sultanate of Oman on the auspicious occasion of Eid Al Fitr.

In his personal letter to His Majesty Sultan Haitham, the Hon'ble Prime Minister noted that the festival of Eid Al Fitr, celebrated with fervour by 200 million Muslims in India, brings with it the universal message of piety, compassion and service.

The Hon'ble Prime Minister said that this year India is honoured by the participation of the Sultanate of Oman in the G-20 under India’s Presidency, which will provide an additional platform for the strengthening of the bonds of friendship between the people of India and Oman. Source: Embassy of India, Muscat.


Largest ever contingent of Ladies Without Mehram to undertake Haj pilgrimage this year, 3 April 2023

For Haj 2023, the Ministry of Minority Affairs has taken several initiatives to make Haj pilgrimage more comfortable, convenient and affordable for the Indian pilgrims. Dedicated efforts have also been made to make the process of pilgrim selection objective, transparent, efficient, timely and without human involvement.

The applications for Haj and selection of pilgrims was done online. Out of a total of 1.84 lakh applications received, 14,935 Haj applicants have been given assured allotment (including 10,621 in 70+ age category and 4,314 Ladies Without Mehram (LWM). This is the largest ever contingent of women proceeding on Haj alone without a male member .

The  applications received over and above the Haj quota have been finalised through an Online Randomized Digital Selection (ORDS) process, without any human intervention. It is for the first time that the list of selected and waitlisted applicants has been published on the official portal immediately after the selection process, for the general public, in the interest of increased transparency. All 1.4 Lakhs selected pilgrims have been sent SMS informing them of their selection for Haj 2023. SMS has also been sent to waitlisted pilgrims informing them about their waitlisted status and position in the waitlist.

The Ministry of Minority Affairs has partnered with State Bank of India(SBI) to make special arrangements to provide Forex facilities to the pilgrims. Unlike earlier years, when each pilgrim was made available 2100 Riyals by the Haj Committee of India, irrespective of his actual requirements, Haj Policy 2023 gives the option and flexibility to the pilgrims to arrange their own foreign currency or take lesser foreign exchange, as per their individual requirements. The Government has collaborated with SBI, to ensure supply of Forex to the pilgrims at the most competitive rates.

With more than 22,000 branches all over India, SBI shall facilitate providing FOREX and mandatory insurance for all the pilgrims, to meet the requirements during their stay in Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. The bank will reach out to the pilgrims in this connection by way of SMS.

Facility of FOREX Card is also being provided to all the pilgrims thereby eliminating the possibility of theft or loss of physical currency.  In case this card is lost during the pilgrimage, the pilgrim can get his money refunded from the bank.

SBI will also arrange stalls at all Embarkation points, with dedicated focal point/nodal officer of appropriate level, to facilitate the pilgrims for collection of FOREX in cash or through the Forex Card and also to provide any guidance and help as may be required.  A helpline shall be operated by SBI and the contact details of these nodal officers would be made public soon. Source: Press Information Bureau.


Prime Minister Narendra Modi wished His Highness Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed, President of the UAE on the occasion of Eid Al Fitr, 21 April 2023

Prime Minister Narendra Modi wished His Highness Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed, President of the UAE on the occasion of Eid Al Fitr. PM Modi added that the festival reminds us of the ties of peace, harmony and brotherhood that bind India and the UAE and their people together.

PM Modi hailed the vision of Sheikh Mohamed which has enabled millions of Indians to live in the UAE for decades with dignity and respect. He also conveyed deep satisfaction at the continued growth in the India-UAE bilateral relationship across a wide range of areas in the past year.

PM Modi also wished His Highness Sheikh Mohamed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and the Ruler of Dubai. Prime Minister thanked Sheikh Mohamed for taking good care of the millions of Indians who have made Dubai as their second home with honour and respect. He hailed the mutual trust between the UAE and India which is reflected in the growing and thriving Indian diaspora. Source: Embassy of India, Abu Dhabi.


Visit of MOS Shri. V. Muraleedharan, to Saudi Arabia & Bahrain (May 01-05, 2023), 30 April 2023

MOS for External Affairs and Parliamentary Affairs, Shri V. Muraleedharan, will be paying official visits to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and Kingdom of Bahrain on 1-3 May 2023 and 4-5 May 2023, respectively. During the visit, MOS will meet his counterpart Ministers in both countries and interact with the Indian community. MOS (VM)‘s visit to Saudi Arabia comes very close to his visit from 25-28 April 2023 to Jeddah to oversee Operation Kaveri for evacuation of Indian citizens from Sudan.

2. MOS (VM) will meet Saudi Vice Foreign Minister Eng. Waleed Elkhereiji and other dignitaries in Riyadh on 1-2 May 2023. He will have an interactive session with the Indian community in Riyadh and also have separate engagements with various Indian diaspora organizations. On 3 May 2023, MOS (VM) will visit the Eastern Province of Saudi Arabia and meet the top leadership of the province. He will also interact with the Indian community in Dammam and Jubail and meet different business groups, including Indian companies. MOS (VM)‘s visit will further deepen India-Saudi strategic partnership.

3. MOS (VM)’s visit to Kingdom of Bahrain will be his second visit to the country. He had last visited Bahrain in August 2021. He will hold discussions with various Bahraini dignitaries and meet Indian community organisations as well as Indians working in different sectors. MOS (VM) will also inaugurate the Indo-Bahrain Dance and Music Festival being organised by Bahrain Keraleeya Samajam and Embassy of India, with support of Bahrain Authority for Culture and Antiquities as part of Azadi Ka Amrit Mahotsav (AKAM). Source: Ministry of External Affairs, India.


Rajya Sabha Unstarred Question No. 3920, 06 April 2023



Will the Minister of EXTERNAL AFFAIRS be pleased to state :-

(a) whether Government is aware of the predicaments of female domestic workers in Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) countries who don’t possess ECR passport or clearance/registration before departure from India;

(b) actions taken against unscrupulous recruiting agents resorting to unethical ways in recruiting domestic workers circumventing e-migrate system;

(c) whether Government will execute bilateral agreements with GCC countries insisting that domestic workers can be engaged only after obtaining clearance from Indian Mission beforehand, on the lines of MOUs by Philippines Government with GCC countries; and

(d) whether Government will prepare data base of all domestic workers including those whose original/tourist visas were subsequently converted to domestic employment?


(a & b) Recruitment of Indian female Domestic Sector Workers (DSWs) is regulated through the provisions of Emigration Act 1983. To safeguard interests of female DSWs, process of their recruitment has been restricted only through 10 State Run Recruiting Agencies. Any Indian citizen having valid tourist/visit visa (including holding ECR passport holder) can travel abroad without ECR clearance. In recent times, it has been noted that some female DSWs have migrated illegally, for employment without ECR clearance.

The Government of India encourages only legal form of migration from India. The Ministry regularly organizes outreach programs to sensitize various stakeholders about benefits of safe and legal migration and on possible ways of preventing illegal migration through fake or unregistered recruitment agencies. Information about illegal agents is also uploaded and updated on regular basis on the eMigrate Portal. As on 10 February 2023, 2458 illegal agents have been notified in eMigrate Portal. This information is regularly updated based on complaints filed by affected individuals.  Ministry issues advisories, media briefings and tweets about fake job rackets from time to time. Such communications are also issued by concerned Indian Missions/Posts abroad through their websites and social media handles and through the print media. During 17th Pravasi Bharatiya Divas at Indore, Hon’ble Prime Minister released a commemorative postal stamp dedicated to “Safe and Legal Migration”.

Whenever instances of illegal recruitment and/or cheating by unauthorised agents come to the notice of the Ministry, quick and decisive action is taken. Such complaints, along with details and addresses of illegal agents, are forwarded to the concerned State Governments and Police authorities urging them to apprehend and prosecute such illegal agents as per existing laws.

Wherever required such complaints are also referred to Mission/Post abroad for providing immediate relief and assistance to the affected Indian national. The concerned Mission/Post provide necessary help to distressed Indian national with particular focus on female workers, irrespective of category of their passport, including legal assistance, boarding and lodging, medical and repatriation to India using Indian Community Welfare Fund (ICWF) if required.

Since such agents are not registered with the Protector General of Emigrants (PGE) and "law and order" is a State subject, the Ministry refers all such cases to the State authorities concerned for taking necessary action against the illegal agents. Government of India, from time to time, issues Standard Operating Procedure to be followed by various State Governments on receipt of complaint against fake agencies.

(c) The Government of India has signed Memorandum of Understanding (MoUs) with various countries including with all the GCC countries where large numbers of Indian workers exist. The broad principles covered in the MoUs include:

(i) Declaration of mutual intent to enhance employment opportunities and for bilateral cooperation in protection and welfare of workers;

(ii) The host country to take measures for protection and welfare of the workers in organized sector

(iii) Statement of the broad procedure that the Foreign Employer shall follow to recruit Indian workers;

(iv) The recruitment and terms of employment will be in conformity with the laws of both the countries;

(v) Constitution of joint Working Groups which would meet regularly to find solutions to bilateral labour problems.

These MOUs are renewed/ signed afresh from time to time and during this process any modifications are duly considered for inclusion.

(d) Database of Domestic Sector Workers (DSWs) holding ECR category passports and proceeding for employment abroad through the eMigrate portal is maintained. However, data of those circumventing the eMigrate portal and subsequently converting their visit/tourist visas to work visas is not available as most of the foreign countries do not share data of such emigrants who convert their visas after their departure from India. Source: Rajya Sabha, Parliament of India.

As part of the policy, the MEI@ND standardizes spellings and date format to make the text uniformly accessible and stylistically consistent. The views expressed here are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views/positions of the MEI@ND. Editor, MEI@ND P R Kumaraswamy.