Delhi, March 19 -- As the Air India flight descended into the Chinese city of Wuhan on January 31, Captain Amitabh Singh (in picture below, first from left) could not beli-eve the sight below him-a brilliantly lit modern metropolis, but without any signs of life. It was as if he was flying into an apocalypse. "Total silence with no radio chatter. an airport blanketed in darkness with all aircraft locked up. Not a single human or vehicle on the roads," he recalls. For the former director operations of Air India and one of the most experienced PIL-ots in the national carrier, it was en experience as eerie as they come.

When the government decided to evacuate all Indians stranded in the COVID-19 epicentre of Wuhan-by then under lockdown-it ...