According to Indian media reports, China is “deliberately delaying a clearance” for a special Indian flight to the coronavirus-hit Wuhan city to deliver medical supplies and evacuate remaining Indians from there, sources said, adding that Beijing is “creating a roadblock” for India’s evacuation efforts.
China has denied any delay in allowing the Indian Air Force’s C-17 Globemaster plane with medical supplies to Wuhan, the epicenter of the novel coronavirus.
India was to send a C-17 military transport aircraft to Wuhan, the epicenter of the coronavirus outbreak, on February 20 but the plane could not take off as permission was not granted for the flight.
“China is deliberately delaying the grant of clearance for the evacuation flight,” a high-level source said.
The aircraft was to carry a large consignment of medical supplies to China and bring back more Indians from Wuhan.
Sources said the Chinese side continued to maintain that there was no delay in granting permission for the flight to go, but “inexplicably” the clearance has not been given.
India’s national carrier Air India has already evacuated around 640 Indians from Wuhan in two separate flights.
According to estimates, over 100 Indians are still living in Wuhan. A sizeable number of countries have evacuated their citizens from China and restricted movement of people and goods to and from the country in view of the massive outbreak of coronavirus there.