India and Australia Unite To Bring Ailing Student Back Home

Arshdeep Singh, a 25-year-old student, who was suffering from a chronic renal ailment, has been repatriated in a rare humanitarian gesture by the collective effort of Indian and Australian authorities.   

In 2018, Arshdeep, who had gone to Australia to pursue higher education, was spotted travelling in an empty flight along with his medical equipment in a video shared by Manjit Singh GK, former president of the Delhi Sikh Gurdwara Management Committee.   

After other airlines refusal to fly Arshdeep, the Australian administration organised a special flight by Qantas- the largest national carrier by fleet size- to airlift him from Melbourne. He had been taken to a hospital in Gurugram soon after his land at the Indira Gandhi International Airport around 6:15 pm on Monday.   

“I am grateful to the Indian and Australian governments for bringing me back to my domestic country safely,” Arshdeep Singh was quoted as saying when his family wheeled him out from the airport.   

When Arshdeep’s family came to know about his ailment and an organ transplant by the hospital authorities in Melbourne, they tried to go visit Arshdeep. Although they did them every bit to get visa formalities done and book flight tickets amid the Covid-19 pandemic, all went in vain due to the international travel restrictions.   

Being helpless, Inderjeet Kaur, Arshdeep’s mother, wrote a letter explaining her son’s condition to External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar and the Australian High Commissioner in India.   

Arshdeep’s brother-in-law Kunwar Anand told ANI when they tried travelling to Australia, and they failed because the flights remain non-operational. They then approached Manjit GK and the Indian World Forum, and with the help of them, Arshdeep’s family could bring him back home.   

“The Australian authorities played a vital role to get Arshdeep back in India, Anand expressed his gratitude. “I thank Prime Minister Modi, Australian government and doctors for their help. We lack words on the ordeal that we faced.”  

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