New Delhi | Jagran News Desk: Days after Prime Minister Narendra Modi offered to help to Chinese President Xi Jinping to deal with the novel coronavirus, India on Monday blamed Beijing for deliberately delaying ‘grant of clearance’ for the evacuation flight.

Government sources, quoted by news agency ANI, said that the Chinese government is yet grant clearance to flight carrying relief supplies which will also get back remaining Indian nationals from Wuhan, adding that Beijing continues to maintain there is no delay (even on Friday), day flight was supposed to go, but inexplicably clearance has not been given.

“It may be recalled that PM Modi wrote to Chinese President Xi Jinping conveying solidarity of people and government of India with people and government of China in meeting the challenge of coronavirus outbreak and offered to provide whatever assistance possible to China,” the sources said.

“There are relief and evacuation flights from other countries which are still going on, including by France. Why is the Chinese government delaying clearance for Indian relief flight? Are they not interested in Indian aid provided as our token of support?,” the sources added.

However, a Chinese Embassy spokesperson said there was no deliberate delay in grant of permission for the Indian flight to reach Wuhan.

"The current epidemic situation in Hubei province is complicated, and the prevention and control of Covid-19 has entered into a critical stage. There is no such thing as China deliberately delaying granting flight permission," the spokesperson, Ji Rong, said.

This comes two days after Indian Air Force’s largest plane C-17 Globemaster’s scheduled flight to coronavirus affected city Wuhan in China to evacuate Indians stranded there was delayed due to technical reasons.

The Indian mission had informed the stuck citizens that due to technical reasons, the date of the flight is being changed. “As we continue to work on the logistics of the evacuation, we would like to inform you that due to technical reasons, the date of the flight is being changed,” Indian Mission in China told the citizens in Wuhan.

India had decided to send its C-17 military transport aircraft to Wuhan to evacuate more Indians. The C-17 Globemaster was also to deliver a consignment of medical supplies to China's Wuhan, the epicentre of the coronavirus epidemic.

Earlier, Prime Minister Narendra Modi had conveyed to Chinese President Xi Jinping India's readiness to provide assistance to the country to deal with the situation. In a letter to Xi, PM Modi had expressed solidarity with the president and people of China over the outbreak of the virus.

The Prime Minister had also conveyed to Xi his appreciation for facilitating evacuation of the Indian citizens from the Wuhan and Hubei province.

India has evacuated around 640 Indians from Wuhan in two separate flights.

(With agency inputs)

Posted By: Aalok Sensharma