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Coronavirus impact: US praises IAF for evacuating Indian nationals from virus-hit Iran

BusinessToday.In     March 10, 2020

The United States (US) on Tuesday praised the Indian Air Force (IAF) for bringing back home 58 Indian citizens from coronavirus-hit Iran. The US Department of State's Bureau of South and Central Asian Affairs, in a tweet, said, "The safety & security of citizens is of the utmost importance, especially in challenging times. Pleased to see @IAF_MCC deploying @Boeing C-17s to evacuate Indian citizens back home. This unique aircraft has greatly enhanced #India's disaster response capabilities."

IAF brought back 58 Indians from Iran in a Boeing's C-17 Globemaster aircraft on Tuesday, March 10. The IAF aircraft was sent to Tehran on March 9.

IAF spokesperson Group Captain Anupam Banerjee said the C-17 Globemaster aircraft evacuated 25 men, 31 women and two children. It also brought samples of 529 Indians to carry out laboratory tests and check whether they have coronavirus infection.

All those who returned have been placed at a quarantine medical facility in Hindon, Uttar Pradesh.

About 2,000 Indians are living in Iran, a country that has witnessed increasing numbers of coronavirus cases in the last few days.

India's External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar, in a tweet, said, "The IAF aircraft has landed. Mission completed. On to the next".

Earlier, Jaishankar had tweeted, "First batch of 58 Indian pilgrims being brought back from Iran. IAF C-17 taken off from Tehran and expected to land soon in Hindon."

"Thanks to the efforts of our Embassy @India_in_Iran and Indian medical team there, operating under challenging conditions. Thank you @IAF_MCC. Appreciate cooperation of Iranian authorities. We are working on the return of other Indians stranded there," he added.

As per the latest reports, around 237 people have died of coronavirus in Iran and the total number of positive cases stands around 7,000.

This was IAF's second evacuation in the past two weeks. On February 27, the IAF evacuated 76 Indian nationals and 36 foreigners in its C-17 Globemaster's aircraft from China's Wuhan, where the outbreak began in the first place.

The Boeing C-17 Globemaster is IAF's largest military aircraft and can carry large equipment, humanitarian aid and troops across long distances.

(With agency inputs)

(Edited by Vivek Dubey)

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