India sends C-17 Globemaster to Iran to bring back Indians
New Delhi: India on Monday sent a C-17 Globemaster transport aircraft to coronavirus-hit Iran on Monday night to evacuate stranded Indians over there, an Indian Air Force officer said.
The aircraft took off at around 8 pm from Hindon air base, near the capital.
“IAF’s medical team and support staff is onboard the aircraft for the humanitarian assistance mission. The aircraft will return with Indian citizens in the early hours of March 10, 2020,” the Indian Air Force said in a statement, adding that it has made all necessary operational and medical arrangements to ensure expeditious and safe return of Indian nationals from Iran.
Health Minister Harsh Vardhan on Thursday told Parliament that India was in touch with Iran on possible evacuation of Indian pilgrims and students stuck in the coronavirus-hit nation.
An estimated 1,200 Indians, mostly students and pilgrims, are in Iran currently.
“If the Iranian government lends its support, a testing facility could be set up there as well, so that Indians there can be tested before they can be brought back,” Harsh Vardhan had said.
The minister said the government is following up with Iran to tie-up evacuation of Indian pilgrims and students stranded in Tehran and Qom as per need.
“The government is taking all necessary measures to prevent the spread of COVID-19 in India,” he said.
The government has carried out two evacuation missions, bringing back a total of 767 from China. All of them have been kept in quarantine and have so far tested negative for the virus.