Coronavirus: India sending IAF aircraft to evacuate its nationals from Iran

India is dispatching an Indian Air Force transport aircraft to Iran on Monday to evacuate its nationals stranded in the coronavirus-hit country, two people familiar with the developments said.

The C-17 Globemaster military aircraft is expected to depart from the Hindon airbase around 8 pm, one of the two people cited above said.

About 2,000 Indians are living in Iran, a country that has seen a jump in the number of coronavirus cases in the last few days.

Last week, an Iranian Mahan Airways flight had brought swab samples of 300 Indians – suspected to have COVID-19– from Iran for tests in India.

Earlier on Monday, foreign minister S. Jaishankar on a visit to Kashmir met relatives of some of the people, including students, stranded in Iran.

This follows Jaishankar in a Twitter post on Sunday, saying that efforts were on to bring back Indians from Iran.

“Efforts underway for return of Indian pilgrims in Qom #Iran. Screening process has started & follow up arrangements are being discussed with Iranian authorities. This is top priority & Embassy team @india_in_iran is fully engaged on this,” Jaishankar said in a post on Twitter.

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