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India helps world fight coronavirus

India helps world fight coronavirus

As the world hurtles through an unprecedented crisis, the second-most populous country with the fifth-largest economy is managing to confront the pandemic with dignity and resilience. Not just that, India's calm and measured response to the world in a debilitating crisis is worth taking note of.

India began its outreach on March 13 when Prime Minister Narendra Modi proposed <strong><a href="https://indianarrative.com/world/india-shows-regional-statesmanship-over-covid-19-strategy-258.html">holding a meeting</a></strong> with the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (Saarc) nations, “to ensure our people are healthy.” Forty-eight hours later, his proposal materialized into an enthusiastic video conference with six of the seven leaders. And soon enough a voluntary Covid-19 Emergency Fund was set up.

The leadership meet to evolve a common strategy for the region was not empty talk. It was followed by a video conference of health professionals and later by trade officials to focus on the economic impact of Covid-19 on the region.

India has walked its talk, and successfully.

Medical supplies have been rushed to the Maldives, Nepal, and Bhutan. Trained medical personnel are flying to help neighbors halt the spread of the virus. The Ministry of External Affairs rolled out a training programme on the coronavirus for Saarc healthcare professionals and the Indian Air Force (IAF) is ferrying personnel and emergency supplies.

<img class="alignnone size-medium wp-image-976" src="https://indianarrative.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/04/IAFCoronavirus-300×225.jpg" alt="" />

Much before the Saarc meet, India had rushed 15 tonnes of medical supplies to Wuhan, the coronavirus epicentre. Supplies included emergency equipment, and were delivered by an IAF special flight to the Hubei Charity Federation.

<a href="https://www.hindustantimes.com/india-news/india-dials-up-medical-diplomacy-sending-85-mn-hcq-tablets-to-108-countries/story-O6n44wY3cNKWUcKqKdphGP.html"><strong>Made in India provisions</strong></a> have reached the new epicentres—US, Spain, Germany along with the entire neighborhood. Countries in West Asia including Israel, Jordan, UAE, Kuwait, Dubai, and Bahrain. Islands like Seychelles &amp; Mauritius, and Latam shores—Brazil, the Dominican Republic, Eucador—where the pandemic is raging wildly. Many fear the pandemic might extinct the region's indigenous communities.

India’s supplies of hydroxychloroquine and paracetamol, rapid testing kits for coronavirus, masks and personal protection equipment (PPE) are now treating populations on almost every continent. African countries and old friend Russia have not been forgotten either.

India is not just extending a helping hand; it is showing good global governance. India is exporting reliable supplies and development aid that works. In other words, this translates into a reliable global power that stands with the world in times of distress. A benign power that neither arm twists like the US, not threatens like China.

In a striking contrast, once China resolved the mess of its own creation it turned its efforts towards wiping out the Wuhan stain. The intentions were not all noble and that had consequences. Half-a-dozen European countries returned the sub-standard supplies to China. So did Nepal. The Wuhan virus stain refuses to go despite a mighty China's vigorous scrubbing. Europe is suspicious, America angry and Africa realises that not all development aid is benign.

<img class="alignnone size-medium wp-image-977" src="https://indianarrative.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/04/WuhanCoronaviruslowres-300×204.jpg" alt="" />

As the long march of the virus grew, the global spotlight zoomed in on India. The leaders of Brazil, Israel, UAE, the entire Saarc region and even the US have lauded 'friend India'.

It is reflective of Trump's burlesque demeanor in how he threatened India for hydroxycloroquine and it is not for India to teach him manners. To be fair to Trump, he did add that friends will not be forgotten. Hope he remembers those words and hope India doesn't have to remind him.

For a moment, we should also check out what is happening outside the coronavirus spotlight. <strong><a href="https://asia.nikkei.com/Politics/International-relations/Philippines-sides-with-Vietnam-after-China-sinks-fishing-boat">China quietly drowned</a></strong> a Vietnamese fishing vessel in the South China Sea by ramming into it and its comrade-in-arms Pakistan was busy pushing highly-trained militants into India to create bloodshed and unleash mayhem. Aggression by China and Pakistan is happening in times when UN Secretary-General <strong><a href="https://news.un.org/en/story/2020/03/1059972">António Guterres appealed</a></strong> for a global ceasefire due to the coronavirus pandemic.

In a coronavirus-scarred world, health for all will not remain a buzzword. It will be acted upon. Nations will re-appraise their health systems and this will include the powerful ones. Most will look towards India and we should be ready.

History will remember China. Not just for the leak of coronavirus from Wuhan but also for the dubious goods it exported and the shady game it played through global bilateral institutions.

History will remember India too—for helping millions across continents and becoming the saving grace for humanity. If India can dump its inward-looking policies and consolidate the gains from the Covid-19 crisis, it will be an unparalleled opportunity..