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Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam - India Helping World to Fight COVID-19

PM Modi has always advocated “Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam”, which means “the world is one family.” In his line, PM Modi has been focussed, both within and outside India from the very beginning of the COVID-19 crisis.

Globally, as of June 13, 2020, there have been more than 75 lakhs cases of COVID-19, which includes more than four lakh deaths. At a time when every country is encroached by this deadly disease, under the leadership of PM Modi, the Indian government has stepped up to provide medical assistance to some of the other countries.

India has helped the United States, a few European, Latin American, African, and Middle East countries by assisting them with medical supplies and professionals to fight COVID-19 pandemic. With the Indian pharmaceutical industry ranked at third in terms of volume, India playing an important role across the world to fight the pandemic was no surprise.

On February 10, India had agreed to test clinical samples from abroad in its laboratories. Informing this Union Health Minister, Dr. Harsh Vardhan said, “Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) has offered to do testing of samples for southeast Asian region countries. We have agreed to provide technical assistance to Bhutan in managing this infectious disease and screening of passengers.” Also, PM Modi reached out to South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) members for collaboration and collective action that can be taken to curb the pandemic. PM Modi also spoke with Canadian PM Justin Trudeau, Indonesian President Joko Widodo,  President of France Emmanuel Macron and other global leaders on the need to collectively fight COVID-19 global pandemic. PM Modi and US President Donald Trump also exchanged views on the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic and its impact on the worldwide well-being and economy. PM Modi also spoke with Prince Charles of the United Kingdom who not only hailed the selfless work being done by religious and social organizations of the Indian community in the UK but also thanked the PM for assistance provided to stranded UK citizens in India.

Indian government initiated the delivery of hydroxychloroquine to 55 countries including the  most vibrant and some of the most disadvantaged economies. Some of the countries that received hydroxychloroquine includes the United States, Afghanistan, Bhutan, Bangladesh, Nepal, the Maldives, Mauritius, Sri Lanka, Zambia, Dominican Republic, Madagascar, Uganda, Burkina, Faso, Niger, Mali, Congo, Egypt, Armenia, Kazakhstan, Ecuador, Jamaica, Syria, Ukraine, Chad, Zimbabwe, France, Jordan, Kenya, the Netherlands, Nigeria, Oman, and Peru. With hydroxychloroquine being tested on 1,500 patients in the United States, the decision to uplift the export ban on hydroxychloroquine may save millions of lives across the world.

India has also dispatched teams of Indian military doctors to countries like Nepal, the Maldives, and Kuwait to help local administrations draw up plans to combat the spread of the SARSCoV2 that causes COVID-19.

India also supported Israel with humanitarian and medical assistance. Acting on the request of the Prime Minister of Israel, H.E. Mr. Benjamin Netanyahu, India had sent five tonnes of medicines, including HCQ in early April 2020. Moreover, India also ensured the successful evacuation of 500 Israeli citizens in two separate trips conducted by Air India, which was highly appreciated by Israeli Ambassador Ron Malka. “Indian govt has helped us a lot, I want to thank them," he said. Apart from this, Indian students have volunteered to help Israel by collecting and testing the blood samples.

Recently, by a naval ship named Kesari, India provided medical assistance to the Maldives, Mauritius, Madagascar, Comoros, and Seychelles based on the separate requests from these countries. The naval ship carried medical teams, essential medicines, and food items, thus proving India to be the "first-responder" to any crisis in the region.

For his strong leadership, President Trump praised PM Modi and said that India's help during this crisis would not be forgotten. Mauritius President Pravind Jugnauth also thanked PM Modi for his assistance. “I am very thankful to Prime Minister Narendra Modi for the generous donation of medical supplies from the Government of India which reached Mauritius yesterday, Wednesday, April 15, by a special flight of Air India,” he said. The appreciation came from many other leaders around the world and heads of international agencies. The responses thanking India for medical assistance by world leaders reflect the new global position of India.

Although the immediate concern of the government is to protect the Indian citizens, for which it is leaving no stone unturned, PM Modi is also ensuring that there is cooperation between India and other countries to fight COVID-19, the non-traditional threat. From regular phone/video calls with the global leaders to sending them medical assistance, the Modi government has set a new benchmark in Indian foreign policy, which has been widely appreciated.

May 28, 2020