Coronavirus outbreak has been declared as a Pandemic by the World Health Organisation (WHO). With this, the epicentre of the Wuhan virus has also shifted from the Hubei province of China to Europe. The novel virus has already swept across at least 118 countries, even as the entire world grapples to combat this new menace manufactured by the “World’s Factory”, China.
In such circumstances, international and regional cooperation has become critical in ensuring that the pandemic is effectively defeated. Leading the fight and a spirit of cooperation is India, even as PM Modi has not only reached out to help those countries which are currently the most severely affected by Covid-19 but has also taken the lead in getting the SAARC on board to tackle Coronavirus.
With Coronavirus outbreak taking grip of the entire world, four countries- Bhutan, Maldives, Italy and Iran, have called upon India to lend a helping hand. New Delhi has reciprocated in line with its culture and tradition of humanitarianism.
India has received request for help from countries 4 countries– Bhutan, Maldives, Italy, Iran over #CoronavirusOutbreak. MEA says they are "processing the request" and "package" is being put in place.
— Sidhant Sibal (@sidhant) March 12, 2020
The Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) please confirm that it received requests for protective gear from four countries affected by Coronavirus, and has also made it clear that the requests are being processed. MEA spokesperson, Ravish Kumar said, “We have received requests from some of the countries in the neighborhood in terms of providing them assistance for masks and protective gear. Requests are under process. In February we had sent a consignment to China.”
Responding to requests by Coronavirus-hit countries, India has sent a 14-member medical team consisting of doctors and paramedics from the defence forces. In Iran’s case, New Delhi has already taken a slew of decisions such as sending the IAF transport aircraft C-17 Globemaster to evacuate stranded Indian nationals and even setting up a laboratory in the Coronavirus-hit country for testing Covid-19.
Apart from these four countries, India’s strategic ally Israel too has sought New Delhi’s help even as Israeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu requested Prime Minister Modi to allow export of protective equipment- masks and pharmaceutical raw materials to Israel during a telephonic conversation.
Most importantly, PM Modi has taken the initiative in the South Asian region to tackle Coronavirus, firmly establishing India’s role as an undisputed leader in taking the Pandemic.
He tweeted, “Our planet is battling the COVID-19 Novel Coronavirus. At various levels, governments and people are trying their best to combat it. South Asia, which is home to a significant number of the global population should leave no stone unturned to ensure our people are healthy.”
Our planet is battling the COVID-19 Novel Coronavirus. At various levels, governments and people are trying their best to combat it.
South Asia, which is home to a significant number of the global population should leave no stone unturned to ensure our people are healthy.
— Narendra Modi (@narendramodi) March 13, 2020
Responding to his inspiring outreach, leaders in the region have responded with brimming enthusiasm. PM Bhutan tweeted, “This is what we call leadership. As members of this region, we must come together in such times. Smaller economies are hit harder, so we must coordinate. With your leadership, I have no doubt we will see immediate and impactful outcome. Looking forward to the video conference.”
This is what we call leadership. As members of this region, we must come together in such times. Smaller economies are hit harder, so we must coordinate. With your leadership, I have no doubt we will see immediate and impactful outcome. Looking forward to the video conference. https://t.co/2RnokAJQOs
— PM Bhutan (@PMBhutan) March 13, 2020
Similarly, President of Sri Lanka, Gotabaya Rajapaksa tweeted, “Thank you for the great initiative Shri @narendramodi- #LKA is ready to join the discussion & share our learnings & best practices and to learn from other #SAARC members. Let’s unite in solidarity during these trying times and keep our citizens safe.”
Thank you for the great initiative Shri @narendramodi – #LKA is ready to join the discussion & share our learnings & best practices and to learn from other #SAARC members. Let’s unite in solidarity during these trying times and keep our citizens safe. https://t.co/fAiT5w3O8D
— Gotabaya Rajapaksa (@GotabayaR) March 13, 2020
Leaders of Nepal, Bangladesh, Afghanistan and Maldives also responded to PM Modi’s outreach.
Thank you PM @narendramodi for taking the initiative on this important endeavor. Covid 19 requires collective effort to defeat it. Maldives welcomes this proposal and would fully support such a regional effort. https://t.co/2fxQxe9w1h
— Ibrahim Mohamed Solih (@ibusolih) March 13, 2020
Nepal PM KP Sharma Oli: I welcome the idea advanced by PM Modi ji for chalking out a strong strategy by the leadership of the SAARC nations to fight #coronavirus. My government is ready to work closely with SAARC Member States to protect our citizens from this deadly disease. https://t.co/A0ATKWxAFp pic.twitter.com/5BPD4DyKOV
— ANI (@ANI) March 13, 2020
HPM Sheikh Hasina welcomes the proposal and look forward to a constructive dialogue with @narendramodi @ibusolih @PM_Nepal @PMBhutan @GotabayaR n others HOSs/HOGs who already consented to discuss way forward at this testing time for the region and the world. https://t.co/62Jl506UsI
— Md. Shahriar Alam (@MdShahriarAlam) March 13, 2020
The Afghan Government strongly welcomes the proposal of HE The Prime Minister of India and readiness of the other SAARC members to work together devising a unified strategy to fight the Coronavirus in the region. https://t.co/vhzRcdNVWi
— Sediq Sediqqi (@SediqSediqqi) March 13, 2020
India’s role as a strong global and regional player in tackling Coronavirus is being widely recognised. The Modi government has handled the Pandemic in a serious and successful manner till now and this is why the entire world, including the worst-affected countries are looking at India’s help in tackling the novel Wuhan virus. New Delhi has also reciprocated in a positive manner upholding its cultural tenets of humanism and reaching out to those in distress.