No need to panic over new Saudi work policy: Khurshid

New Delhi, April 1 (IANS) Amid worries that Saudi Arabia’s new ‘nitaqat’ policy, which seeks to reserve 10 percent jobs for Saudis, would affect thousands of Indian workers in the kingdom, External Affairs Minister Salman Khurshid Monday said there was “no need to panic” and the Indian government was ready to provide any assistance to affected Indian workers.

“We are in touch (with the Indian embassy in Saudi Arabia) and we will review it (situation) tomorrow (Tuesday),” Khurshid told IANS on the sidelines of an event.

“If somebody has to go to another country, he has to satisfy the rules of that country. But if there is inconvenience caused to any Indian citizens, then whatever assistance we can give, we will provide,” Khurshid added.

He said the Indian ambassador (Hamid Ali Rao) has been in touch and “has gone to Dammam to see that people who are in distress have access to him.. We should not allow this to cause any panic. This is routine stuff in any country”.

Khurshid said he is in touch with Kerala Chief Minister Oommen Chandy over the issue and would be meeting him on April 8. He met a delegation of Kerala MPs who approached him to voice their concern.

He is also meeting Overseas Indian Affairs Minister Vayalar Ravi and Minister of State for External Affairs E. Ahamed, both of who are from Kerala, to discuss the issue Tuesday.

“There is no need for panic, whatever procedures need to be followed by our people in Saudi Arabia, we will be there to assist them, in case of any distress call by any Indian citizens, we will be there to assist them,” Khurshid reiterated.

He said the Indian embassy in Riyadh and the consulate in Jeddah had set up help desks to aid the Indian workers.

There are more than two million Indians in Saudi Arabia.

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