The coronavirus outbreak in China has seen the world collectively scrambling to nip the virus in its bud. China has now confirmed 4,500+ positive cases of the deadly coronavirus while it is widely believed that the actual numbers would be much higher as the Xi Jinping government has announced a complete lockdown in large parts of China. At such a precarious time, the fate of the Indians present in China, hangs in balance. Continuing the legacy of Sushma Swaraj, External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar has stepped in and has announced that India will be evacuating its citizens from China as a 423 seater Air India plane is kept on standby in Mumbai.
The MEA said that the Centre has started preparations to evacuate the Indians stranded in China’s Wuhan, which is the epicentre of the outbreak of the deadly coronavirus. Three Indian men, who came from China Monday, have been admitted to the Ram Manohar Lohia (RML) hospital Delhi. “They walked into the hospital on their own with symptoms of cold and cough which is similar to the coronavirus outbreak,” Dr Minakshi Bharadwaj, medical superintendent of the hospital, said.
This comes at a time when about 45 Indian medical students at Jianghan University School of Medicine in Wuhan, who are stranded in their hostels, have sought immediate help from Indian authorities. India is awaiting China’s formal nod as it has kept the 423-seater Air India jumbo plane ready in Mumbai. “The aircraft will fly Mumbai-Wuhan-Delhi as per requirement for passenger evacuation,” a senior DGCA official said.
The 423-seater double-decker aircraft, with a 12-member crew, will fly as soon as China grants required permissions, he said. “Our Embassy in Beijing is working out the logistics and is in touch with the Chinese government authorities and our nationals on this matter,” said Ministry of External Affairs spokesperson Raveesh Kumar. As per reports, China has approved India’s request to fly its citizens out of the country.
— Sidhant Sibal (@sidhant) January 28, 2020
The Indian embassy in Beijing has established dedicated hotlines (+8618610952903, +8618612083629, +8618612083617) and email address (email@example.com).
India has made a name for itself in the past few years as it has conducted daring rescue of its citizens on foreign shores and has also helped citizens of other countries in their quest for evacuation. Operation Rahat conducted in 2015, saw the Indian Armed Forces evacuate Indian and foreign nationals from Yemen as Saudi Arabia and its allies announced a military intervention in Yemen.
While the Indian Navy, Indian Air Force and Indian Army tried to organise the evacuation, the Indian government and diplomats in the capital Sanaa managed to negotiate a window where Saudi-led bombings ceased, in order to allow Indian aircraft to land and take off. The evacuation started on 1 April 2015 from the Aden sea port, while the air evacuation started on 3 April 2015 from Sanaa. Together with Air India, the Indian armed forces evacuated around more than 4,640 Indian citizens in Yemen, along with 960 foreign nationals of 41 countries.
It is heartening to see that S Jaishankar is carrying forward the legacy of the late Sushma Swaraj.