India rescues seven Maldivians from Wuhan under neighbourhood first policy

WION Web Team New Delhi, India Feb 03, 2020, 01.15 PM(IST)

File photo. Photograph:( Reuters )

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External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar shared the information on Twitter

Under neighbourhood first policy, Indian airline Air India has rescued 7 citizens of Maldives along with 323 Indians from Wuhan, the epicentre of the SARS-like coronavirus.

The information was shared by External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar on twitter.

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Maldives' Foreign Minister Abdulla Shahid expressed gratitude for the kind gesture taken by the Indian government.

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He said the initiative reflected ''historic ties of kinship between the two countries and synergy between the Neighbourhood First and India First policy''.

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This is the second Air India that was sent to Wuhan to rescue stranded Indian citizens from the epicentre of the novel virus.

Also read: Second Air India plane carrying 323 Indians takes off from China's Wuhan

However, the Chinese government took four days just to grant permission for the evacuation process.

It also expressed displeasure over the advisory issued by India in which it asked its citizens to refrain from travelling to China in order to prevent the deadly virus from spreading.

Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi said that '' World Health Organisation has not recommended any sort of restrictions regarding travel or trade with China''.

Beijing's envoy to New Delhi, Sun Weidong also tweeted about the matter.

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Other than India, China has been dissuading US, France and other foreign countries from airlifting their citizens from China.

It fears that such a wide-scale evacuation of foreign nationals from its territory can adversely affect its reputation and undermine the credibility of its claim that is capable of containing the outbreak.

The virus which was detected in December has now spread to the United States, Japan, Thailand, Hong Kong, Britain, India among other countries.

The World Health Organization has declared the outbreak a public health emergency.