China finally helps India airlift citizens

Coronavirus Outbreak: Jaishankar thanks Wang as reluctant China finally helps India airlift citizens from Ground Zero

Beijing finally gave its nod to New Delhi proposal to airlift citizens of India

Five doctors of RML hospital inside a B747 aircraft of the Air India at the IGI Airport before its departure for coronavirus-hit city of Wuhan in China to bring back Indians, in New Delhi, Friday, Jan. 31, 2020. (Credit: PTI Photo)

As a reluctant Beijing on Friday finally helped New Delhi evacuate over 300 Indian citizens from the epicentre of the coronavirus outbreak in China, External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar called his Chinese counterpart Wang Yi and thanked him. 
 
Jaishankar called Wang, who is also a State Councilor in China, around the same time in the evening when a Boeing 747 of Air India landed at the airport in Wuhan – the capital of Hubei province of China – to airlift over 300 Indian stranded at the Ground Zero of the latest novel coronavirus outbreak. 
 
“Called Chinese State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi today to thank him for the cooperation extended by the Chinese government for the departure of Indian students and professionals from Wuhan,” Jaishankar tweeted after talking to Wang. “As China deals with the #coronavirus challenge, we agreed to stay in touch.”
 
China was trying to dissuade not only India, but also the US, France and other foreign nations from airlifting their citizens from China. It was worried because such large-scale evacuation of foreign nationals from its territory might portray it in poor light and undermine the credibility of its claim that it was capable of containing the outbreak.
 
New Delhi had on Monday formally requested Beijing to allow it to send special aircraft to evacuate over 700 Indian citizens from Hubei province of China. 
 
Beijing, however, sat on New Delhi's request for two days. “The WHO (World Health Organization) does not recommend evacuation of nationals and called on the international community to remain calm and not overreact,” Sun Weidong, China's envoy to India, tweeted, quoting Dr Tedros Adhanom, Director General of the apex global health body, saying in Beijing.
 
India, however, kept on insisting on evacuating its citizens from China. 
 
The Embassy of India in Beijing conveyed to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Chinese Government on Thursday that majority of Indian nationals living in and around conveyed to it their desire to return home in view of the coronavirus outbreak. 
 
Sources told the DH that Chinese Government and local administration in Hubei had on Friday helped Embassy of India in Beijing to bring its nationals from Wuhan and nearby areas to the airport by bus and board the aircraft. 
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