As India enters the 3.O phase of the national lockdown in light of the covid19 pandemic, the country has remained focused on her external outreach too. Not only is India committed to flatten the curve of the coronavirus; but New Delhi is also ready to walk the extra mile to help her brethren the world over.
Continuing with the government’s outreach to countries in India’s immediate neighbourhood and beyond, Prime Minister Narendra Modi spoke to his Bangladesh counterpart Sheikh Hasina over telephone. The two Prime Ministers discussed the regional situation in the wake of the covid19 pandemic. Both leaders briefed each other about the steps being taken to mitigate its effects in the two countries.
Prime Minister Modi and Ms. Hasina expressed happiness at the progress made in implementing the special arrangements agreed in March 2020 during the SAARC Leaders video conference. Mr. Modi thanked Bangladesh for the $1.5 million contribution to SAARC covid19 Emergency Fund.
Prime Minister Hasina thanked the Indian Prime Minister for taking lead in coordinating efforts to combat covid19 in the region and for supplying aid to Bangladesh. India also facilitated evacuation of Bangladeshi citizens from Chennai and Kolkata.
The two leaders expressed satisfaction at continuation of supply of essential items across the border through road, rail, air and internal waterways. Mr. Modi assured the Bangladesh Prime Minister regarding India’s readiness to help Bangladesh in containing the spread of covid19 and in mitigating the health and economic impact of the pandemic. The Indian Prime Minister greeted the people of Bangladesh on the holy month of Ramzan and once again assured to stand by them in this difficult hour.
Mr. Modi also spoke with the State Counsellor of Myanmar Ms. Aung San Suu Kyi. The leaders discussed the evolving covid19 scenario in the domestic and regional contexts. They updated each other on the steps taken to control the spread of the pandemic.
Underlining the importance of Myanmar as a vital pillar of India’s ‘Neighbourhood First’ policy, Prime Minister Modi conveyed to Ms. Suu Kyi India’s readiness to provide all support and cooperation to Myanmar for mitigating the various aspects of the covid19’s impact.
Mr. Modi also assured all possible help to the Myanmar citizens present in India. He thanked the Myanmar State Counsellor for the cooperation extended to Indian citizens in Myanmar. Both leaders agreed to remain in touch and work together to address the challenges posed by covid19.
The Indian Prime Minister also had a telephonic conversation with the Prime Minister of Thailand, Gen. Prayut Chan-o-cha. Mr. Modi warmly recalled his visit to Bangkok in November 2019 to attend the ASEAN and related summits. He conveyed his greetings to the members of the Thai Royal Family and the Thai people. The two leaders shared information on the steps being taken in their respective countries to deal with the covid19 pandemic.
The Indian Prime Minister spoke about the importance of regional and global cooperation to effectively fight the pandemic. He assured Prime Minister Gen. Chan-o-cha of India’s commitment to support the pharmaceutical requirements of Thailand. Both leaders agreed on the desirability of greater collaboration between researchers, scientists and innovators of the two countries.
The Indian and Thai Prime Ministers appreciated the facilitation being provided to their citizens present in each other’s territory and promised to continue such support.
Thailand is a valuable maritime partner in India’s extended neighbourhood, with ethnic and ancient cultural links.
At the regional and extended neighbourhood levels, India has reached out to her partners in the hour of need. New Delhi has provided market relief as well as medical supplies and teams to many countries. It has also helped in the evacuation of foreign citizens to their home countries whenever such requests have been made.
India’s outreach to the global community in this hour of need has been appreciated by the comity of nations. In a post-corona world, India’s selfless contribution for mitigating the human impact of covid19 will surely stand her in good stead.
Script: Kaushik Roy; Air: News Analyst