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Swaraj: Overseas Indian Affairs ministry to merge with MEA

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New Delhi: Sushma Swaraj, the Minister of External Affairs (MEA) informed on Thursday about the merger of Ministry of Overseas Indian Affairs (MOIA) with her ministry.

She said her merger proposal was accepted by Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

“As minister for external affairs and overseas Indian affairs, I realised that substantial work of MOIA is done through our missions abroad,” she said in a tweet.

“Therefore, I proposed to the Hon’ble prime minister that MOIA should be merged with the ministry of external affairs,” she added.

“The prime minister has kindly accepted my proposal. So the MOIA will now be part of the ministry of external affairs,” the minister announced.

Sushma Swaraj (born 14 February 1952) is an Indian politician, former lawyer and the current Minister of External Affairs of India who assumed office on 26 May 2014.

She has been elected seven times as a Member of Parliament and three times as a Member of the Legislative Assembly. At the age of 25 in 1977, she became the youngest cabinet minister of north Indian state of Haryana.

The MOIA, dedicated to the multitude of Indian nationals settled abroad, was established in May 2004 as the ministry of non-resident Indians’ affairs. Besides dealing with all matters relating to Overseas Indians, the Ministry is engaged in several initiatives with OIs for the promotion of trade and investment, emigration, education, culture, health and science & technology.

Later, it was renamed the Ministry of Overseas Indian Affairs in September 2004.(IANS)

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India’s Diwali Promise, Medical Visas to All Deserving

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Shushma Swaraj
External Affairs Minister Shushma Swaraj. IANS

New Delhi, October 19: Marking the auspicious occasion of Diwali, India on Thursday made a Diwali promise medical visas all those people abroad, including in Pakistan, seeking treatment.

“On the auspicious occasion of Deepawali, India will grant a medical visa in all deserving cases pending today,” External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj tweeted.

Keeping to a promise made on Independence Day, India on Wednesday issued six more medical visas to Pakistani nationals, including three children.

“We will issue visa to facilitate treatment of your eight-year-old child in India,” Sushma Swaraj tweeted on Wednesday night in response to a request from Nazir Ahmed who said that his son Mohammad Ahmed was awaiting a medical visa from India for one year.

In a separate tweet, she also promised a visa to Muhammad Asif Malik’s son, who is currently in an intensive care unit (ICU) in children’s hospital in Lahore, and to Kasif Chacha’s child who is running out of medicine.

Visas were also issued to Irfan Ahmed Shaikh, Nasir Mahmood and the mother of Rafique Menon for liver surgeries.

This month, Sushma Swaraj has announced the issuance of 19 medical visas to Pakistanis for treatment in India as Diwali promise.

Last month, India issued a medical visa to a Pakistani child seeking open heart surgery.

On Independence Day, the External Affairs Ministry made a Diwali promise that India would provide medical visas to all bonafide Pakistani patients.

As ties between the two countries soured over various issues, the ministry had announced in May that only a letter of recommendation by then Pakistan Prime Minister’s Foreign Affairs Advisor Sartaj Aziz would enable a Pakistani national to get a medical visa for India.

The action was termed “highly regrettable” by Islamabad, which said that asking for such a letter violated diplomatic norms and such a requirement had not been prescribed for any other country.

However, on July 18, a patient from Pakistan-administered Kashmir, seeking treatment in New Delhi for a liver tumor, got a visa.

Sushma Swaraj then said that he needed no recommendation from the Pakistani government for a medical visa because the territory “is an integral part of India”.

Since August 15, however, Pakistani nationals seeking medical treatment have not been denied visas.(IANS)