Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Monday interacted with all the Indian Heads of Missions (HoMs) posted across the world via video conference to debate responses to the Covid-19 pandemic, which has affected lakhs across the planet .
In a statement, the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) said, "The prime minister noted that extraordinary times require extraordinary solutions, which was why even during this globalized era, most of the planet had quarantined itself."
"This was an unavoidable step taken to fight this pandemic, but it had been also hugely consequential, because the closure of the globalized system has had an in depth and far-reaching impact upon the international transport system, financial markets, and therefore the global economy," the MEA said.
Sources said that in the interaction, 10 Indian envoys got a chance to talk given the limited time available.
PM Narendra Modi spoke and addressed all the ambassadors and high commissioners followed by brief remarks by envoys, mainly from countries most suffering from the coronavirus. They were China, the US, Iran, Italy, Germany, Nepal, the UAE, Afghanistan, Maldives, and South Korea .
PM Modi complimented the Heads of Missions for his or her efforts to evacuate Indians stranded abroad.
According to the MEA statement, PM Modi also urged them to require steps on five specific counts:
i. to make sure their own health and safety, which of their teams and families;
ii. To attend to Indians who remain in various foreign countries, given the uncertainty of continuous international travel restrictions. He called on Heads of Indian Missions to assist boost the morale of such compatriots abroad, and to assist them address issues arising from their unplanned stay abroad, with their host Governments, and also to deal with other problems Indians might face abroad, including arranging shelter, where necessary and feasible;
iii. to remain alert and identify in their countries of accreditation best practices, innovations, scientific breakthroughs and sources to acquire medical equipment, for India's fight against COVID-19. He also advised Heads of Mission to suitably publicize the newly-established PM-CARES Fund to mobilize donations from abroad;
iv. Since this crisis also impacts upon the economy, PM advised Heads of Mission to also specialise in ensuring that commerce in essential supplies, logistics chains, remittances then on are unaffected, through their coordination with foreign partners;
v. To still pay close attention to the evolving international political and economic situation, especially within the context of the COVID-19 pandemic."
While the envoys shared feedback regarding the appreciation in how India is combatting the pandemic, all 10 of them had their own inputs. Sources say, the Indian ambassador to China, Vikram Misri identified items for procurement to export to India.
India is watching procuring PPE kits and ventilators from China. Although given the failure of Chinese testing kits, India is staying faraway from those. the primary batch of PPEs arrived on March 28 and was donated by Ali Baba Foundation to the Red Cross Society in India.
Indian envoy to Washington DC, Taranjit Singh Sandhu acknowledged the US's technological help in fighting the Covid-19. The US has the most important number of cases. He also spoke of steps taken to seem after stranded Indians, said sources.
Indian ambassador to Tehran, Dhamu Gaddam spoke of his experience of the evacuation and steps being taken to seem after the remaining Indians.
Iran and Italy witnessed the worst crisis and therefore the largest evacuation operations. Indian envoy to Italy, Reenat Sandhu spoke of steps being taken to seem after the Indian community and lessons learned from Italy's experience.
Indian Ambassador to Germany, Mukta Dutta Tomar mentioned an important aspect of how Berlin has fought the pandemic way better than the other European country .
According to the sources, Mukta Dutta Tomar also highlighted the low deathrate and what India can learn from them, how India can utilize non-pharma industrial units to supply ventilators as Germany has done.
Ambassador Vinay Kwatra from Nepal mentioned his mission's efforts in taking care of the stranded Indians.
While most affected nations are under lockdown, Indian envoy to the UAE Pavan Kapoor asserted that the UAE is managing without a lockdown. He mentioned that construction and other activities continue there, while the mission is monitoring things and searching after the welfare of Indians.
Most envoys spoke of the economic impact and concerns also which was particularly highlighted by Ambassador Sunjay Sudhir from Maldives, a rustic that's completely hooked in to the tourism industry.
According to sources, Sunjay Sudhir said that the tourism industry was badly affected. He further spoke of the steps taken to seem after stranded Indians.
In conclusion, PM Modi emphasized that India's missions abroad could be faraway from home, but they continue to be full participants in India's fight against coronavirus. He emphasized that the unity and application of all Indians would help safeguard the nation's future.