External Affairs Minister S M Krishna said the government was closely monitoring the situation in Libya, Yemen and Bahrain and inter-ministerial meetings have been held to take stock of the situation in the region.

“I have personally been in touch with our Ambassadors in these countries and have conveyed that all measures should be taken for the safety and welfare of our nationals there,” he said.

He informed the House that the External Affairs Ministry and Indian embassies concerned have set up round-the-clock helplines to help Indians.

With regard to Libya where the situation continues to be volatile, Krishna said, “We are putting in place plans for possible evacuation by land, air and sea.”

He noted that “violent political protests” are being witnessed in Libya as also Yemen and Bahrain which have significant Indian community, most of whom have gone there to earn their livelihood and have been contributing to the growth and development of the host country.

“Our embassies have been in close and regular contact with the Indian community,” the minister said. There are about 350,000 Indians in Bahrain and 14,000 in Yemen.

Referring to Egypt which also witnessed political upheaval recently, Krishna said upon request from the Indian community, three special flights were arranged by Air India, which carried around 670 Indians from Cairo to Mumbai.

“This was not ‘evacuation’ and government only facilitated arrangement of the special flights of Air India to Cairo which brought back Indians desirous of returning to India,” he Krishna said.

In the Rajya Sabha Mr Krishna assured the House that the stranded Indians will not be charged money during the evacuation. he said that said that Indian citizens are safe in violence-torn Libya and that a rescue vessel has already reached Egypt on its way to Libya.

Meanwhile the Foreign Secretary Mrs Nirupama Rao said in tweet that the clearance for landing of Indian aircraft and ships are awaited. She said Ambassador in Tripoli is also in touch with Indian community in smaller Libyan cities.

India has deplored the use of force by Libyan authorities against anti-government protesters and said it was working on a ‘mammoth’ operation to evacuate about 18,000 Indian nationals from the North African nation. Mr Krishna informed the Lok Sabha earlier in a suo moto statement that his Ministry and Indian embassies concerned in Libya , Yemen and Bahrain have set up round-the-clock helplines to help Indians across the volatile Arab world.