ISLAMABAD/Karachi/NEW DELHI - India on Tuesday night accepted Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif’s offer to fly home by a special plane 11 Indians who were evacuated by a Pakistani Navy ship from strife-torn Yemen to Karachi.

The Indians, who were taken out of Al-Mukallah on Saturday by Pakistan Navy’s Aslat along with 171 Pakistanis, are now in Karachi and will be flown to New Delhi today (Wednesday) by the special plane following Premier Sharif’s gesture.

“Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif offers Indian High Commission Islamabad a special aircraft to take 11 Indians (evacuated from Yemen) from Pakistan to India,” the Pakistan High Commissioner to India said in New Delhi.

Shortly after PM Sharif’s offer was conveyed by the Indian High Commission in Islamabad to New Delhi, External Affairs Ministry Spokesperson Syed Akbaruddin announced that India had accepted the offer.

“India accepts Pakistan’s offer to fly back from Karachi by special plane 11 Indians evacuated by Pakistani naval ship from Yemen,” he said.

Pakistan High Commissioner Abdul Basit also tweeted: “India has accepted Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif’s offer of a special plane to fly 11 Indian nationals to India with gratitude.”

It is understood that India’s acceptance came after a nod from the political leadership. According to Pakistan Foreign Office last week, the 11 Indians along with 171 others were evacuated by the PNS Aslat from Yemen’s southeastern city of Mukallah, which is now almost entirely under control of al-Qaeda militants. Indian authorities had also evacuated Pakistani nationals from the Yemeni port of Al Hodeidah last week along with citizens of several other countries.

The Indian nationals along with citizens from various other countries who had been rescued expressed gratitude to Pakistan for the government and Navy’s efforts to evacuate people from Yemen.

Meanwhile, Indian High Commissioner Dr TCA Raghuwan on Tuesday thanked Pakistan for evacuating Indians from the war-hit Yemen. He said that India was thankful to Pakistani government for cooperation that it extended in evacuating Indians from Yemen.

Talking to a private TV channel, Dr Raghuwan said Pakistani officials helped Indians stranded in Yemen a lot. He said both the countries were helping each other’s citizens on humanity basis. It would bring both the countries closer, he said.

Dr Raghuwan said all neighbouring countries should help each other in the time of need. “India had also helped Pakistan during floods and earthquake,” he said.

Earlier, Pakistan Navy Ship Aslat arrived at Karachi Port Tuesday after the successful evacuation of 146 Pakistanis and 36 foreigners including men, women and children stranded in Al Mukalla, Yemen.

Mission Commander Commodore Zahid Ilyas said apart from 146 Pakistanis, 36 people of other nationalities such as Indian, Canadian, Chinese, Filipino, Syrian, Indonesian and British were also on board PNS Aslat. The foreigners included 11 Indians, 8 Chinese, 5 Filipinos, 4 British, 3 Indonesians, 2 Syrians, one each Canadian, Egyptian and Jordanian.

He informed that another Pak Navy ship Shamsheer is in the process of evacuating at least 51 people from the port city of Hudayda, Yemen in the Gulf of Aden.

“We are committed to help our fellow countrymen serving in other countries.

In the wake of deteriorating situation in Yemen, Pakistan Navy considering it a national obligation immediately reacted and sailed its ships for evacuation of stranded Pakistanis. Aslat reached Al Mukalla on April 2.

Besides safeguarding maritime interests of the country, Pakistan Navy has always been at the forefront with the international community to conduct humanitarian assistance and disaster relief operations. The resolve and commitment was also evident at numerous occasions in the past including assistance rendered to Maldives and Indonesia after Tsunami 2004 and rescue of MV Suez Crew from Pirates in 2011.