External affairs minister S. Jaishankar arrived on a surprise visit to Kashmir on Monday and met the relatives of those people, including students, who are stranded in Iran amidst coronavirus outbreak, officials said.
They said the Union minister reached the Valley on Monday morning and he will take a briefing on the security situation from a top Army commander in Srinagar.
Jaishankar met the relatives of those stranded, which include students and pilgrims from the Union Territory, at Kashmir International Convention Complex situated on the banks of Dal Lake, the officials said.
The officials said that over 100 relatives of those stranded had gathered at the complex to meet the minister, demanding that the Centre airlift their kin from Iran immediately.
The officials said the Union minister briefed the families on the steps being taken by the Centre to bring back their loved ones.
The minister assured the families that the people would be airlifted as soon as possible, they added.
Jaishankar had on Sunday said efforts were underway for return of Indians stranded in Iran.
'Efforts underway for return of Indian pilgrims in Qom #Iran. Screening process has started & follow up arrangements are being discussed with Iranian authorities. This is top priority & Embassy team @india_in_iran is fully engaged on this,' Jaishankar wrote on Twitter.
'Our Emb @India_in_Iran continues to maintain close contact w Indian fishermen in #Iran. No case of #COVID19 reported among them. Ensuring that they have adequate supplies. Will continue to monitor their welfare (sic),' he said in another tweet.
The officials said that after meeting the families, the minister interacted with some people associated with the tourism industry who raised several issues confronting the sector.
Jaishankar then visited the Regional Passport Office Srinagar located in Boulevard area of the city and took stock of its functioning.
He will also visit Passport Seva Kendra in Baramulla district of north Kashmir, they added.
The minister will also get a briefing from General Officer Commanding of the Srinagar-based 15 Corps over the security situation in the valley, the officials said.
The minister will leave for Delhi in the late afternoon after his Baramulla visit, they added.