Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Monday asked all envoys of India across the world, during an unprecedented video-conference, to identify countries for procurement of medical equipment and ensure smooth international trade for essential supplies through the COVID-19 pandemic.
In the video-conference with the heads of all the missions of India worldwide, Prime Minister Modi advised the diplomats to ensure that commerce in essential supplies, logistics chains and remittances are unaffected, through their coordination with foreign partners.
He also asked the envoys to "identify in their countries of accreditation best practices, innovations, scientific breakthroughs and sources to procure medical equipment, for India's fight against the coronavirus."
A ministry of external affairs statement said, the video conference - the first such event for Indian missions worldwide - was convened to discuss responses to the global COVID-19 pandemic.
Explaining the reasoning of his decision for a countrywide lockdown for 21 days, the Prime Minister said extraordinary times require extraordinary solutions. "This was an unavoidable step taken to fight this pandemic, but it was also hugely consequential, as the closure of the globalised system has had an extensive and far-reaching impact upon the international transport system, financial markets and the global economy," he said.
India, he pointed out, had taken early steps in response to this pandemic from mid-January this year, to reduce the risk of importing the infection, and thereafter to prevent a large outbreak.
The Prime Minister complimented heads of missions for their efforts to evacuate Indians stranded abroad in some of the epicentres of the crisis. He also exhorted them to ensure their own health and safety, and that of their teams and families and attend to the problems of Indians stranded in various foreign countries.
In response, 10 heads of mission, in Beijing, Washington DC, Tehran, Rome, Berlin, Kathmandu, Abu Dhabi, Kabul, Male, and Seoul outlined their efforts to help Indians stranded abroad, in particular, students and workers.
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