India had offered to evacuate Pakistani students from China’s Wuhan — the epicentre of deadly coronavirus –, Minister of External Affairs S Jaishankar told Rajya Sabha [Upper House of Indian Parliament], India Today reported.
According to reports, replying to a question posed by Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP)-nominated lawmaker Rupa Ganguly, S Jaishankar told the house that before the two Air India flights were sent in, India had offered ‘bring back all the people in our neighbourhood’.
“At the time when 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 our own people but bring back all the people in our neighbourhood who would like to come back,” Jaishankar said.
“This was an offer which was made to all our neighbours, but of them, seven nationals of Maldives chose to avail the offer. But the offer was made to everybody,” the minister clarified.
Last week, two Air India flights had brought back 638 Indian nationals and seven nationals of Maldives. 80 Indian students left behind in Wuhan
The minister of external affairs informed the fouse that despite an evacuation effort, 80 Indians — including 10 who were barred from boarding the evacuation flight as they showed symptoms of coronavirus — have remained back in Wuhan.
Jaishankar said that the 70 Indians chose not to be evacuated, but the Indian Embassy is in constant touch with them all. “I want to assure the house and the families of those in Wuhan that the embassy is in touch with all students and is regularly monitoring their welfare,” he said.
The minister also applauded the efforts of two embassy officials who risked their lives and traveled from Beijing to Wuhan to help in evacuation efforts.