While Pakistan refused to evacuate their citizens from China in the wake of the coronavirus outbreak, India had offered to help Pakistan and other neighbours to help and board the flight to come from Wuhan. External Affairs Minister Subrahmanyam Jaishankar reiterated this in the Rajya Sabha earlier today as he briefed the House regarding the situation of Indian nationals in China, especially in Wuhan.
Replying to a question asked by BJP MP Roopa Ganguly, Jaishankar said in the parliament, “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.” He also informed that although the offer was made to all neighbours, only seven nationals of Maldives chose to avail the offer. “The offer was made to everybody,” the foreign minister clarified.
Referring to reports about Pakistan refusing to evacuate its citizens from Wuhan, Roopa Ganguly had asked whether India can offer to evacuate them as humanitarian assistance.
He also informed that 80 Indian students are still stuck in Wuhan. They include 10 students who were not allowed to board the evacuation flights by Chinese authorities as they had shown symptoms of coronavirus. The rest 70 voluntarily chose to remain in China.
Yesterday, MEA spokesperson, Raveesh Kumar had answered a question raised by a reporter who highlighted that some Pakistani students trapped there were requesting the Indian government to help them. “We have not received any request regarding it from Pakistan Government. But, if such a situation arises and we have resources then we will consider it,” he said.
Pakistan has refused to evacuate its citizens highlighting a dubious stance. While the health minister says he is following the WHO standards, Pakistani President Dr Arif Alvi said that Pakistan’s decision is in accordance to Hadith. He had said, “Prophet’s directions regarding disease outbreaks are a good guide even today, ‘If you hear of an outbreak of plague in a land, do not enter it, but if the plague breaks out in a place while you are in it, do not leave that place’ (Bukhari & Muslim) Let us help those stuck there.”
The coronavirus, that originated in Wuhan has taken more than 600 lives in China. The new figures brought the total number of confirmed cases rose to 31,161. India has cancelled all visa and travel to China until further notice.