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Covid-19: India Extends a Helping Hand to Neighbours with Medicine

Created on 15 Apr 2020

Wraps up in 4 Min

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Updated on 14 Jan 2023

Coronavirus has brought the entire world to its mercy. The lockdown, falling economy, medicines, testing, and protection kits are the only news that we are seeing. COVID19 or Coronavirus Disease 2019 (owing to its first trace in Wuhan in December 2019) has been declared a global pandemic by the World Health Organization (WHO). When the problem is a global one, it needs global cooperation. India is known in the entire world for the quality of its health services. India is a medical tourism hub for people through the Middle East, Africa, and South Asia. History manifests that India has acted positively insight of any mission aiming to restore peace in the entire world since its inception. With the crisis we are combating in this time, India is also lending a helping hand to its less-resourced neighbors.

The Medicines

Hydroxychloroquine or HCQ was in the news after the President of the United States of America Donald Trump’s ‘retaliation’ speech. HCQ is a drug used against malaria. The developed countries have eliminated these diseases long back. Hence, they no more produce much of such medicines. HCQ is being considered somewhat successful in reducing the effects of COVID19 on an individual. Developing countries are still combating such fatal viral diseases. Backing on India’s large pharmaceutical manufacturing, India is not only one of the largest producers of HCQ; it is also a huge exporter valuing up to $50 million. India promised the HCQ medicine to not only the US or Israel but also its neighbors. Three of India’s neighbors namely Bangladesh, Bhutan, and Nepal are entirely dependent on India for the supply of essential drugs.

Equipment and Human Resource

India will send masks, protective gear, sanitizers, fumigations systems, testing kits, medical equipment, and disinfectants to its neighbors. Supplies have already been dispatched to Bhutan and Maldives. Six naval ships are loaded with disaster relief material in ports like Visakhapatnam, Kochi, and Mumbai to be ready for emergency calls from Maldives, Sri Lanka or Bangladesh. Medical teams are ready to be sent on request to Maldives, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, Nepal, Bhutan, and Afghanistan. An Army Medical Corps team has already been to the Maldives to help set up quarantine and testing facilities. India has also sent a medical team to the long-time Indian Ocean partner Kuwait. Oman is asking for similar help.

Evacuation

From peacekeeping missions since 1950 to the evacuation of citizens during coronavirus crisis, India has always been a frontrunner. India rescued 36 foreigners from China. This included 23 Bangladeshi nationals, 2 each from Myanmar and Maldives. Prime Minister of Bangladesh Sheikh Hasina expressed her gratitude to India. India has voluntarily extended Visa for the stranded foreigner including Afghanistan, Bangladesh, and Nepal. Hence, they will not have to pay an overstay penalty.

Other Initiatives

India has also suggested some measures for the betterment of all the neighbors. India has suggested a COVID-19 Emergency Fund that will receive voluntary contributions from all the countries. India has pledged $10 million, out of which requests for $1 million have already been acted. India has offered an online training program for emergency health care response teams in other countries. India has also proposed to set up an ‘Integrated Disease Surveillance Portal’ to help trace possible virus carriers and the people they contacted. India has suggested for creation of a common research platform through existing mechanisms like SAARC Disaster Management Centre.

Winding Down

COVID19 has become the new geopolitical battleground. With two huge emerging powers in the vicinity, India, and China, this becomes more interesting. While the spread of coronavirus through China was not enough a blot on its reputation, poor quality protective gears, and selling the kits to Italy it received a donation from them, are already doing the worse for China.

India’s humanitarian efforts have not only helped the poorer nations of South Asia, but it has also boosted its image as for another emerging superpower whose rise shall benefit everybody under its hood. New rising powers like Bangladesh or Vietnam could not do much for others contrary to India. It will not only help us establish our stronghold in the countries that had immense Chinese influence until now, it will also help us unite as a stronger South Asia with India as its unequivocal leader. Nevertheless, these times of crisis show the rich culture of India’s helping hand to everyone, though it might not be as rich as the developed countries. As our Prime Minister, Mr. Narendra Modi said after the meeting of the SAARC leaders, “We have to fight this battle together, and we have to win it together. Our neighborhood collaboration should be a model for the world.”  

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Vivek Tiwari

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Vivek Tiwari is a Software Engineer and a Data Scientist who hopelessly fell for Economics. His plans to move to Management might now save mankind from his IITJEE selection story.

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