Tuesday, June 12, 2012 -
Uzbekistan and Tajikistan are favorite stop-off points for Indians intent on entering Europe illegally, according to a report out of India Tuesday.
Travel agents cater to the “open secret” by advertising flights on Uzbekistan Airways and Turkmenistan Airlines with tempting phrases like “assured visa” and “passport issuance”, according to the Times of India news agency on Tuesday.
Many young Indians fly to the Turkmen capital Ashgabat and the Uzbek capital Tashkent in order to enter Europe via Russian territory.
One agent who requested anonymity told the media outlet that Indian youths obtain tourist visas to the two Central Asian countries with the intention of linking up with professionals there who can get them into Europe.
"Once they reach one of the two countries, they illegally enter Russia through Kazakhstan. Then with the help of unscrupulous travel agents, they go to Sweden, Finland, and Norway in search of greener pastures,” said the contact.
The route is easy but some do “land up in jails,” the contact admitted.
But with the apparent large number of Indian youths choosing this route, they seem to think it is worth taking the risk.
Other serious travelers in the Indian state of Punjab are also using the national airlines of Uzbekistan and Turkmenistan more frequently, as the airlines offer more competitive packages to London and Birmingham than do other airlines.