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Chinese wall stopping evacuation of Indian nationals from Wuhan

On February 17, India had announced that it will send a C-17 Globemaster with medical supplies to Wuhan and bring back its nationals as well as citizens from all neighbouring countries who were still stuck there. India evacuated 647 Indians, seven Maldivians and few Bangladesh nationals in two special Air India flights to Wuhan earlier this month.

, ET Bureau|
Last Updated: Feb 22, 2020, 10.49 AM IST
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Reuters
Wuhan airport
Sources said the Chinese side continued to maintain that there was no delay in granting permission for the flight to go, but "inexplicably" the clearance has not been given. (Image credit: INSTAGRAM/@JULIA_VOLOK via REUTERS)
Coronavirus
China is "deliberately delaying grant of clearance" for a special Indian flight to the coronavirus-hit Wuhan city to deliver medical supplies and evacuate remaining Indians from there. Beijing is allegedly "creating a roadblock" for India's evacuation efforts.

“The Government of China is yet to grant clearance to the flight carrying relief supplies to China which will also bring back the remaining Indian nationals from Wuhan. Chinese side continues to maintain there is no delay (even on friday), the day the flight was supposed to go, but inexplicably the clearance has not been given,” sources told ET.

“It may be recalled that PM wrote to Chinese President Xi Jinping conveying solidarity of people and government of India with people and govt of China in meeting the challenge of coronavirus outbreak and offered to provide whatever assistance we could to China. Government of India then put together relief supplies in pursuance of this commitment as a token of our solidarity, particularly in this 70th year of anniversary of diplomatic relations. These supplies have been offered even as India faces tremendous shortage itself, given our ethos of helping others, especially neighbours in their hour of need. Items being supplied are gloves, surgical masks feeding and infusion pumps and defibrilators based on the requirements as indicated by the Chinese side,” sources said.

“Indian nationals in Wuhan continue their long wait for the flight which will evacuate them to India. The delay is causing them and their family members in India tremendous mental anguish. There are relief and evacuation flights from other countries which are still going on, including by France. Why is the Chinese government delaying clearance for the relief flight? Are they not interested in Indian aid provided as our token of support? Why are they creating roadblock in evacuating our nationals from Wuhan and putting them under hardship and mental agony?” a source quipped.

On February 17, India had announced that it will send Indian Air Force's largest plane, C-17 Globemaster, with medical supplies to Wuhan, and bring back its nationals as well as citizens from all neighbouring countries who were still stuck there on the return flight.

India evacuated 647 Indians, seven Maldivians and few Bangladesh nationals in two special Air India flights to Wuhan earlier this month. On Friday, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Geng Shuang said at a press briefing that China has assisted India earlier to evacuate a large number of Indians from Wuhan in Hubei province.

"The competent departments on the two sides are still in communication on the arrangement for the remaining 80 people that India plans to fly home. There is no such a thing as China delaying giving flight permissions," he said, adding China attaches high importance to the lives and health of all foreign nationals in the country.

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