An Indian Air Force (IAF) special flight on Wednesday departed for Coronavirus-hit Wuhan city in China in order to deliver medical supply and bring back Indians and nationals from neighbouring countries.
The flight was carrying around 15 Tons of medical assistance comprising masks, gloves and other emergency medical equipment.
“This assistance has been provided in the wake the Corona virus (Covid 19) outbreak in China and the request by China to provide supplies such as masks and medical equipment,” the Ministry of External Affairs said in a statement.
India operated two special Air India flights on February 1 and 2 and airlifted 647 Indian nationals, mostly students, and seven Maldivian nationals.
On February 8, Prime Minister Narendra Modi had written to President Xi Jinping, expressing the solidarity of the people of India and the Indian Government with the people and Government of China and also offered assistance to China in this hour of need as a gift.
The medical supplies will help augment the China’s efforts to control the outbreak of this infection which has been declared as a Public Health Emergency by the World Health Organisation.
“The assistance being sent today is also a mark of friendship and solidarity from the people of India towards the people of China as the two countries also celebrate 70th anniversary of establishment of diplomatic relations this year,” it added.
“The flight will also bring back Indians and foreign nationals from some of our neighboring countries who have sought assistance in traveling to India in keeping with Prime Minister Modi’s neighbourhood first policy,” the ministry said.
Earlier, official sources had said that the neighbouring country was deliberately delaying clearance to the C-17 military transport aircraft which was to fly on February 20 to Wuhan, though Beijing had allowed fights from other countries to evacuate their nationals.
Official sources said Japan, Ukraine and France have been allowed to operate flights between February 16 and 20 but India’s request had not been approved.
However, a Chinese Embassy spokesperson had said there was no deliberate delay in grant of permission for the Indian flight to reach Wuhan.