India has extended her medical assistance to help authorities abroad in combating the COVID-19 pandemic. Till now, India has helped 125 countries with essential supplies, medicines, teams of medical experts and also in some cases evacuation of foreign citizens to their home countries.
New Delhi has already delivered consignments in 29 countries spread out over the South Asian region, the Indian Ocean region, the Gulf (Kuwait), Central Asia (Kazakhstan, Armenia, Tajikistan, Ukraine) and even remotely located countries like Dominican Republic and Ecuador. Six more African countries have received hydroxychloroquine (HCQ) and paracetamol as well.
Apart from medical aid, India has also sent teams of medical personnel called Rapid Response Teams to Kuwait and Maldives, set up mobile health check-up centres, conducted webinars to train personnel in other countries and extended technical assistance in other formats. India took the lead by setting up a $ 10 million COVID-19 fund for South Asia.
Procurement and delivery of medical assistance to about 50 additional countries including 28 countries in the Latin America and the Caribbean region and 12 countries in Africa was carried out by India. The list included countries in other regions like Madagascar, Egypt, Syria, Lebanon, Armenia, Jamaica, Uzbekistan, Malta, Lao PDR and Comoros.
India has provided 10 million HCQ tablets to 67 countries out of which deliveries of 2.8 million have been done to 21 countries like Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, Maldives, Mauritius, Nepal, Seychelles, Comoros, Madagascar, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, Kazakhstan, Ukraine, Zambia, Uganda, Burkina Faso, Niger, Mali, DR Congo, Myanmar, Armenia.
More requests have been received for additional assistance from another 13 countries in Africa, 7 countries from Western Asia and North Africa region apart from 16 other countries. India is committed to providing all help to the global community in this hour of need.
The Indian Prime Minister is regularly keeping in touch with other Heads of State/ Government to chalk out strategies in fighting the pandemic. Prime Minister Narendra Modi spoke on phone with President Gotabaya Rajapaksa of Sri Lanka, regarding the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic and its likely health and economic impacts in the region.
The Indian Prime Minister assured the Sri Lankan President that India would continue to provide all possible support to Sri Lanka for mitigating the effects of the pandemic.
President Rajapaksa briefed Prime Minister on the steps being taken by his Government to restart economic activity. In this context, both leaders agreed on the need to accelerate Indian-assisted development projects in Sri Lanka. They also discussed the possibilities of promoting investments and value-addition in Sri Lanka by the Indian private sector.
Mr. Modi conveyed his best wishes for the health and wellbeing of the Sri Lankan people.
Prime Minister Modi also had a telephonic conversation with Mr. Pravind Jugnauth, Prime Minister of Mauritius.
Prime Minister Jugnauth conveyed his condolences for the losses caused in India by Super Cyclone Amphan. He thanked the Indian Prime Minister for sending the Indian Naval Ship ‘Kesari’ to Mauritius as part of ‘Operation Sagar’, with a consignment of medicines and a 14-member medical team to help the Mauritian health authorities fight the COVID-19 pandemic.
Prime Minister Modi recalled the special people-to-people ties between India and Mauritius and said that India is duty-bound to support its friends during this time of crisis.
The Indian Prime Minister conveyed his appreciation for the effective COVID-19 response mounted by Mauritius under Prime Minister Jugnauth’s leadership, which has resulted in no new cases being reported for several weeks. Mr. Modi suggested that Mauritius could document its best practices, which would be helpful for other countries, especially island countries, in dealing with similar health crises.
The two leaders discussed enhancing cooperation in various areas including measures aimed at supporting the financial sector of Mauritius, and enabling Mauritian youth to study Ayurvedic medicine.
Prime Minister Modi conveyed his best wishes for the health and well-being of the Mauritian people, and for maintenance of the uniquely warm relations between the two countries.
Thus, India is carrying out its role as a frontline state in the battle against COVID-19.
Script: Kaushik Roy: AIR; News Analyst