India green-lights UAE, Kuwait request for ex-military doctors, nurses

The government has given an in-principle approval to requests from Kuwait and the United Arab Emirates to send Indian doctors and paramedics to help the two Gulf countries fight the Covid-19 pandemic, a top government official told Hindustan Times on Wednesday.

Kuwait was the first one to seek Indian medical assistance earlier this month when Prime Minister Sheikh Sabah Al-Khaled Al-Hamad Al-Sabah called Prime Minister Narendra Modi. The Indian Air Force had then flown a 15-member military rapid response team.

As this team was wrapping up – it returned on Monday – New Delhi received the request for more medical teams. “They were very impressed with the rapid response team,” an official said.

By this time, senior government officials said, another request for Indian healthcare personnel had come in from the United Arab Emirates. There are also similar requests pending from Mauritius and Comoros, the archipelago off Africa’s east coast Comoros, that are battling the disease.

Other Gulf countries have also sounded out New Delhi that they would need Indian medical assistance and are expected to send formal requests shortly.

In response to these requests, the top official said, “an in-principle decision has been taken to allow retired military doctors, nurses and technicians to travel to UAE and Kuwait to begin with”.

For Comoros and Mauritius, the government has okayed short-term deployment of the military’s rapid response teams. These self-contained teams comprise military doctors, nurses and other paramedics.

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