An Indian consular officer informed Queen Elizabeth II on Friday of close cooperation between Britain and India during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Sanjibita Tariang, who works for the British High Commission in Calcutta, said her experience of helping stranded British travelers come home while India was closed, according to the British High Commission.
She described how the "UK in India" team faced the unprecedented challenges of COVID 19 through collaboration between India and London and with exceptional collaboration from the Indian authorities.
Between April and June, the UK brought back almost 18,000 travelers from India on 66 charter flights from 11 Indian cities.
The engagement took place during a virtual unveiling of a new portrait of Queen Elizabeth. The artwork, painted by the artist Miriam Escofet, will be exhibited in the renovated reception of the new foreign, commonwealth and development office.
The Queen praised FCO staff for their work in responding to the COVID-19 pandemic.
During the engagement, the Queen spoke to staff working on the repatriation efforts and also heard about the work that the UK government is doing internationally to develop a vaccine.
Tariang shared her experiences: "Organizing the return flights was a huge and complex process that involved thorough planning and coordination. We also had to obtain movement permits during a nationwide ban – the biggest challenge was to transport people to remote locations like Meghalaya and Organize Manipur for a 32 hour trip, "she said.
"I used my local networks and Hindi, Assamese, Bengali and Nepali language skills to organize a safe trip for some of the most vulnerable and elderly British nationals. For example: organizing a bus from Shillong to Kolkata; request help from the Police officers who help passengers cross borders and get hotels to open their restaurants for dinner and pack breakfast for long journeys – all so that passengers can get to their flight on time, "she added.
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