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IAF flight leaves for China carrying 15 tonnes of medical supplies

Indian Air Force (IAF) aircraft perform a fly by during the DefExpo 20 in Lucknow, Uttar Pradesh, India, on Wednesday, Feb. 5, 2020. India plans to spend $250 billion over a 10-year period to 2025 on defense modernization. Combat jets, submarines, battle tanks and armored vehicles are among the procurement programs that Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s administration is pursuing. Photographer: T. Narayan/Bloomberg

Indian Air Force (IAF) aircraft perform a fly by during the DefExpo 20 in Lucknow, Uttar Pradesh, India, on Wednesday, Feb. 5, 2020. India plans to spend $250 billion over a 10-year period to 2025 on defense modernization. Combat jets, submarines, battle tanks and armored vehicles are among the procurement programs that Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s administration is pursuing. Photographer: T. Narayan/Bloomberg   | Photo Credit: T. Narayan

It will bring back around 120 citizens and five infants on its return trip early today.

India on Wednesday sent a heavy lift military transport aircraft to coronavirus-hit Wuhan in China. The C-17 Globemaster III aircraft carried 15 tonnes of medical supplies as a goodwill gesture from the Government of India and will bring back around 120 citizens and five infants on Thursday.

 

Apart from the Indian nationals, the flight is expected to bring back citizens of friendly countries early in the morning on February 27. An Indian based in Wuhan said the Indian Embassy in Beijing had asked citizens to be ready for evacuation and the official process was under way till late on Wednesday evening.

India had reached out to China on February 13 seeking permission for sending the aircraft with medical supplies. It subsequently accused China of deliberately delaying the process, causing considerable friction between the two sides as India said the delay was causing hardship for its citizens in Wuhan. China had, however, mentioned that the delay was part of the usual process on the ground which was complex in view of the outbreak. 

A Chinese source familiar with the exchanges said that there was no “deliberate delay” for flight permission to Wuhan. “The Chinese side takes the health and safety of foreign nationals, including Indian students in China, seriously like its own citizens,” said the source 

This is the third aircraft that India is sending for evacuation of citizens from the coronavirus-hit region of China. The previous evacuations were conducted by civilian aircraft. This is the first time a heavy lift military transport aircraft has been sent from India. 

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Printable version | Mar 30, 2020 10:25:56 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/iaf-flight-leaves-for-china-carrying-15-tonnes-of-medical-supplies/article30922849.ece

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