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Sunday, 2 June, 2002, 15:32 GMT 16:32 UK
Delhi scorns foreign exodus
US nationals
US nationals arrive at Delhi's international airport

People on the streets of the Indian capital, Delhi, say the call by foreign governments for their nationals to leave the country because of concern about a war between India and Pakistan is an over-reaction.


It is the duty of the government to assert that the situation is not as grim as it appears

Businessman Ravi Thapar
Ordinary people think fear is the key behind the exodus of foreigners from India.

Amartya Bannerji, working with an Indian advertising firm in Delhi, says there is no need for any panic.

"Since foreigners rarely experience this kind of situation, it is normal to expect that they would leave the country," he says.

US national hugging colleague
Departure has heightened fears of war
But Mr Bannerji said the foreigners are leaving the country as if a war has already broken out.

Twenty-seven-year-old Sailesh Sharma said newspapers were responsible for creating a war hysteria here which is leading foreigners to leave India.

"I read in a newspaper today that even foreigners who were here for business are leaving - which is definitely going to prove detrimental for the Indian economy," he says.

Imminent war

Ravi Thapar, a businessman who was in Delhi's busy Connaught Place area to watch a film with his wife, said the departure of foreign nationals made it seem that war was imminent.

But he says this is not the case.


We have nowhere to go since we cannot leave our jobs and houses and flee

Student Tanaya Dutta-Roy
"Foreigners will not take any chances, but it is the duty of the government to assert that the situation is not as grim as it appears to these foreigners."

He says the number of foreigners coming to India was anyway in decline because of militancy in Kashmir and the numbers are only going to go down further after the latest India-Pakistan stand-off.

There are some like Manoranjan Sinha who believe that the exit of foreigners gives a signal that a war is not far away.

But not all agree with Mr Sinha.

And many resent the fact that they cannot flee even if there is a war.

Delhi University student Tanaya Dutta-Roy said the exit of foreigners from India hardly bothered her.

She says:"Who cares? We have nowhere to go since we cannot leave our jobs and houses and flee to some safe place."

 WATCH/LISTEN
 ON THIS STORY
The BBC's Jake Lynch
"At British airports traffic from India and Pakistan is at normal levels"
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02 Jun 02 | UK Politics
01 Jun 02 | South Asia
01 Jun 02 | South Asia
01 Jun 02 | South Asia
28 May 02 | South Asia
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