Queen Elizabeth II heard at length from a Kolkata-based Indian consular officer at a British Deputy High Commission about the close collaboration between the UK and India during the repatriation efforts related to the COVID-19 pandemic lockdown.
She described how the “UK in India” team rose to “unprecedented” challenges posed by COVID-19 and helped repatriate stranded British citizens back to the UK through collaborative working between Indian and British authorities.
“Organising the repatriation flights was a huge and complex operation involving thorough planning and coordination. We also had to obtain movement permissions during a nationwide lockdown — the main challenge was to organise transport from remote places like Meghalaya and Manipur for a journey spanning 32 hours,” said Tariang, Regional Consular Development Officer at British Deputy High Commission in Kolkata. “I used my local networks and Hindi, Assamese, Bengali, Nepali language skills to organise a safe journey for some of the most vulnerable and elderly British nationals. It was with the support of the Indian authorities and great teamwork across the UKinIndia network that we could successfully organise this operation,” she said.
The UK repatriated nearly 18,000 travellers from India on 66 charter flights, from 11 Indian cities, between April and June.