NEW DELHI — Afghan nationals arriving in the country will get a six-month visa, and the government will “take it from there” as making long-term plans has not been the “best of ideas” under the current circumstance, said the Ministry of External Affairs.
The decision came after the Ministry announced that all the Afghan nationals should travel to India only using e-Visa, given the current security situation in Afghanistan.
“Keeping in view some reports that certain passports of Afghan nationals have been misplaced, previously issued visas to all Afghan nationals, who are presently not in India, stand invalidated with immediate effect. Afghan nationals wishing to travel to India may apply for e-Visa at www.indianvisaonline.gov.in.” said the Ministry of External Affairs in a statement.
“So they (Afghans) are currently coming here under the six-month visa regime. We will take it from there. That’s the current plan for six months. This is an evolving situation. Making long-term plans have not been the best of ideas,” said Arindam Bagchi, spokesperson of the Ministry of External Affairs, during a weekly press briefing.
India has evacuated over 550 people on six separate flights, either from Kabul or Dushanbe.
“Of these, over 260 were Indians,” said Bagchi.
“We were moving to the e-Emergency visa system. It appears that all this could have led to some confusion, which led to the unfortunate incident of denial of entry to a particular Afghan national.”
He said that decision was made given the security situation deteriorated in Afghanistan.
“There were reports of a group of people who raided one of our outsourcing agencies where Afghan passports with Indian visas were there,” said Bagchi.
Over 11,000 visas issued by the Indian embassy in Afghanistan between Aug. 12 and Aug. 14 have been canceled after over 1,000 visas were reportedly stolen, prompting the Centre to introduce e-Visas after the fall of Kabul.
A senior official on Aug. 26 said that the intelligence agencies anticipated that the stolen visas could be misused amid chaos in the neighboring country.
Afghanistan’s situation is worsening as people rush to leave the nation after the Taliban seized control. On Aug. 15, the country’s government fell soon after President Ashraf Ghani left the nation. On Aug.26, twin blasts were reported near Kabul airport, which led to the death of over 60 people.
The Indian embassy and all consulates in Afghanistan were closed in the last two months.
The “e-Emergency X-Misc visa” will initially be valid for six months, and all Afghans, irrespective of their religion, can apply for it.
(With inputs from ANI)
Edited by Saptak Datta and Ritaban Misra
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