On evacuation of Pakistani students from Wuhan, EAM says was prepared to bring back everyone from the neighbourhood

WION New Delhi, Delhi, India Feb 07, 2020, 07.37 PM(IST) Written By: Sidhant Sibal

Second Air India plane lands in Delhi from Wuhan (Picture courtesy Air India) Photograph:( Others )

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India had evacuated 654 passengers from Wuhan on January 31 and  February 1 which included 7 Maldivian citizens and one Bangladeshi citizen. 

India had offered evacuation of citizens of all neighbouring countries from Wuhan, the epicentre of the coronavirus. 

Speaking in the upper house of the Indian Parliament, India's external affairs minister S Jaishankar said, "Regarding the question on Pakistan, at the time when our two flights were going, we had told all the students and the larger community in Wuhan that we were prepared not only to bring back Indians stuck in Wuhan but bring back all the people of our neighbouring countries who would like to come back."

Adding, "This was an offer which was made to all our neighbours. But of them, 7 nationals of Maldives chose to avail of the offer, I would like the honourable members to know the offer was made to all the neighbouring countries."

India had evacuated 654 passengers from Wuhan on January 31 and  February 1 which included 7 Maldivian citizens and one Bangladeshi citizen. ITBP, which is hosting one of the quarantine camps for the evacuees, confirmed that all foreign nations have tested negative for the virus that has killed more than 600 in China.

While it has been confirmed no offer came from Pakistan, the foreign ministry has said, if the situation arises, it can look into it.

Indian Parliament also lauds 2 Indian diplomats from Indian mission in Beijing-- Deepak Padmakumar & M.Balakrishnan who played a crucial role in operation Wuhan Evacuation by New Delhi. 

The external affairs ministry said: "I would like to place on record, for understanding and appreciation that, 2 embassy official also went from Beijing to Wuhan at considerable risk."

Deputy Chairman of the Rajya Sabha Harivansh Narayan Singh responded saying, "entire house joins in applauding the efforts".

80 Indians citizens are in Wuhan currently, which includes 70 Indian students who choose to stay in Wuhan and 10 students who were not allowed to board Air India flight since they showed symptoms. 

So far India has confirmed only 3 cases of the virus, from the southern Indian state of Kerala. It has also been confirmed 6 Indians are on board the quarantined cruise ship Diamond Princesses, off the coast of Japan. Around 3700 people on the ship with 61 confirmed with Wuhan Coronavirus.