Home >News >India >Coronavirus: After 7 Maldivians, Tweeple want India to evacuate Pakistanis

NEW DELHI: India evacuated seven Maldivians, along with hundreds of its own nationals, from China's Hubei province, the epicenter of the deadly coronavirus outbreak. Following the evacuation of Maldivian citizens by a special Air India flight, some users on Twitter urged the Indian government to airlift stranded Pakistanis as well.

Early on Sunday, the second Air India flight landed in New Delhi with more than 300 evacuees on board.

“Second batch of 323 passengers from Wuhan landed in Delhi (today). It includes seven citizens of Maldives as well," Air India spokesperson Dhananjay Kumar was quoted as saying by news reports.

Earlier today, Indian foreign minister S Jaishankar had on Twitter said “7 Maldivians brought back with 323 Indians from Wuhan on the second @airindiain flight today. #NeighbourhoodFirst at work again. @ibusolih @MohamedNasheed @abdulla_shahid".

In response, some Twitter users urged Jaishankar to help evacuate Pakistani nationals stuck in Wuhan, the capital of Hubei.

“Sir, we request you to bring the Pakistanis too on humanitarian grounds, after all they are actually our brothers and sisters...Desh ka partition hua toh kya hua...relationship ka toh partition nehi hua nah...(so what if the country faced partition, our relationship was not," said a Twitter user Abhijit, who is a civil engineer.

There were more Twitter users who made similar requests.

“A master stroke would have been bringing down Pakistani students as well, brings great goodwill within Pakistan," M Merchant tweeted.

A Twitter user asked Jaishankar whether it was true that Pakistani students in Wuhan and nearby areas had requested Indian Embassy in China to evacuate them.

Maldivian foreign minister Abdulla Shahid thanked India on Twitter. “My thanks and gratitude to PM @narendramodi, EM @DrSJaishankar and the government of India for expeditiously evacuating the 7 Maldivians residing in Wuhan, China," Shahid said on the micro-blogging and social networking website Twitter.

“This gesture is a fine example of the outstanding friendship and camaraderie between our two countries," Shahid said.

The requests to evacuate Pakistani nationals come amid India and Pakistan sharing tense ties, as the latter has been accused of fomenting terrorism. Ties between the two nations have been bitter, especially since last year when a suicide bomber had detonated an explosive-laden vehicle carrying Indian military forces, killing 40.

However, Pakistan and China share cordial ties, with the two describing each other as “all weather friends."

Meanwhile, news reports said the 323 passengers who arrived in the capital today will be screened for symptoms of coronavirus at the Indira Gandhi International Airport and then taken to the two quarantine facilities set up by the Indian army and the Indo-Tibetan Border Police (ITBP) in Delhi and neighbouring Haryana’s Manesar.

On Saturday, the first Air India flight landed in New Delhi with 324 Indians living in Wuhan.

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