UAE has the most number of captives at 1,690 out of a total of 7,737 Indian prisoners, V.K. Singh tells Lok Sabha.

New Delhi: The Middle-East countries have the highest number of Indian prisoners in foreign jails, showed data shared by the external affairs ministry.

As of 20 July, 2018, a total of 7,737 Indians were held as captives in different jails of foreign countries, Gen V.K. Singh (retd), minister of state for external affairs, said Wednesday.

United Arab Emirates has the most Indian captives at 1,690 captives. Saudi Arabia has 1,575 captives, followed by United States with 647 prisoners, according to data shared by Singh in a written response to questions in Lok Sabha.

Last year, 7,620 Indian nationals were recorded to be in foreign jails — Saudi Arabia ranked the highest.

India’s neighbours — Nepal and Pakistan — also figure among the top 10 countries holding Indian prisoners. Nepal has 548 Indian prisoners compared to Pakistan’s 471. According to the Pakistan Foreign Office, among them 418 are fishermen and 53 were arrested for entering the country illegally through water.

Amount spent

In three fiscals through March 2018, the Indian government spent a total of Rs 2.7 crore to release prisoners from foreign jails.

The highest amount was paid to UAE at Rs 1.5 crore, followed by Iran at Rs 17 lakh, Greece at Rs 10 lakh and Bahrain at Rs 5 lakh. However, none of these three feature in the top 10 countries vis-a-vis the number of Indian captives. Currently, Iran has six prisoners while Greece has 27 and Bahrain 95.

“Where required, the Indian missions and posts abroad also provide airfare for facilitating the return of the Indian prisoners who have completed their sentence,” said Singh.

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