Forge collaborations for Covid-19 solutions: PM Modi to Indian missions
PM Modi also briefed on the domestic situation and steps taken by the government to alleviate the economic and social situation, including through an economic package, and international and regional engagements to fight the spread of Covid-19.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Monday tasked Indian missions across the globe to ensure the welfare of citizens stranded because of Covid-19-related restrictions and to forge collaborations to find solutions to the pandemic, people familiar with developments said.
Modi issued these instructions during a video-conference with heads of some 130 embassies and high commissions – the first such event for Indian missions worldwide – to discuss responses to the global pandemic.
The conference, the latest in a string of virtual initiatives undertaken by the government to forge a coordinated response to the pandemic, allowed Modi to outline the vision and general direction to be taken by the envoys, said the people cited above who spoke on condition of anonymity.
“Earlier, we had taken steps for the evacuation of citizens. Now, the focus is on the well-being and welfare of our stranded citizens. All the embassies were tasked to be in constant touch with the communities and to provide assistance wherever possible,” said a person who declined to be named.
“There was also discussion on the many things we could get from the countries on the frontline – this includes joint research and collaboration, technologies, development of solutions, both therapeutic and vaccines, and testing and diagnostic kits,” the person added.
Modi also briefed on the domestic situation and steps taken by the government to alleviate the economic and social situation, including through an economic package, and international and regional engagements to fight the spread of Covid-19.
The envoys, in turn, briefed the prime minister on the situation in the countries where they were posted, especially crucial nations such as the US, Italy, Iran, China, and South Korea, and conveyed their sense of what the Indian community is going through, the people said.
Ten heads of missions from Beijing, Washington, Tehran, Rome, Berlin, Kathmandu, Abu Dhabi, Kabul, Male and Seoul, offered their perspectives and shared feedback in those countries on the “resolute measures taken by India to combat this pandemic”, an official statement said.
The people cited above said there was considerable interest in efforts by countries such as Germany and South Korea to tackle the Coronavirus.
“Germany has had a large number of cases but the mortality rate is low, and the reasons for their success are of interest to us. Germany is also converting automobile factories to produce equipment such as ventilators and we can look at the same concept as automobile manufacturers are also being engaged in India,” said the person cited above.
South Korea’s policy of “trace, test and treat”, which had worked well, and the use of technology, including an app for monitoring and self-quarantine, were also of interest to India, the people said. South Korea had tested some 400,000 people and not resorted to a lockdown, while its testing protocols and the possibility of joint production of test kits are of interest to India, they said.