Second batch of Indian pilgrims returns from Iran
The first batch of 58 pilgrims had returned in an Indian Air Force aircraft on Tuesday
The second batch of 44 Indian pilgrims returned from coronavirus-hit Iran on Wednesday. Announcing this on Twitter, External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar said that “our efforts to bring back the others continue”.
The External Affairs Minister expressed appreciation for the support of the Iranian authorities and the country’s airlines. He also thanked the Indian Embassy in Iran and the medical team in Teheran for their effort.
The first batch of 58 pilgrims had returned in an Indian Air Force (IAF) C-17 Globemaster on Tuesday.
On Wednesday, the government had said that it was in the process of evacuating 1,400 Indian nationals, mostly residents of Ladakh and Jammu & Kashmir, from the coronavirus-hit Iran where around 300 people have died due to the outbreak.
In a statement tabled before the Rajya Sabha, Minister of External Affairs S. Jaishankar said of the 6,000 Indian nationals living in Iran, 1,100 were pilgrims mainly from Ladakh, Jammu & Kashmir and Maharashtra and 300 were students mostly from J&K and 1,000 were fishermen from Kerala, Tamil Nadu and Gujarat.
Around 9,000 people have been infected with the novel coronavirus across Iran. Due to the spike in coronavirus cases in Iran, as a precautionary measure, New Delhi temporarily suspended direct flights between India and Iran from February 27. Advisories were issued to avoid travel and returning passengers have been screened.