(PRESS RELEASE) — As a friendly gesture, India sends medical supplies and a grant of US$1 million under the India-UNDP Fund to St. Lucia.
1. The coronavirus pandemic has created an unprecedented global crisis of immense proportion with nations across the globe being forced to deal simultaneously with a catastrophic health emergency and a massive economic shock.
2. From the beginning of this crisis, India, under the leadership of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, has been outward focused and recognized the need for global engagement and has been engaged with global leaders across the world on a regular basis. India has made a major effort to be a responsible member of the international community and take a far-sighted view that will stand in good stead in the post-pandemic world.
3. India is committed to supporting its friends and partners in the collective fight against the pandemic, including by providing essential medical supplies. Global access to medicines, vaccines and medical equipment to combat COVID19 is vital for all countries and peoples. India believes that there should be free and open sharing of medical research and new drugs and vaccines. In tune with this spirit, India has responded positively to the sudden worldwide demand for Hydroxychloroquine and has stepped up production to supply this (and many other medicines) to many countries in every region of the world.
4. Despite huge demands amid lockdown, through concerted efforts of Government of India and private sector, India was able to supply, after ensuring adequate domestic stockpiles, large volumes of HCQ and Paracetamol drugs to consumers across the world. Due to its world-class pharmaceutical industry with brand recognition in all geographies and markets as the producer of choice for critical medications, India’s role as a “pharmacy of the world” has come into sharp focus.
5. India first decided to gift HCQ and Paracetamol to immediate neighbours, and then to other badly affected countries in Africa, Middle East, Central Asia, South America and the Caribbean. As a token of gesture of friendship, India has also allowed large scale licensed commercial export of HCQ and Paracetamol has been de-licensed for production. Rapid Response Teams (RRT) comprising doctors, nurses and paramedics (from the Armed Forces) have already deployed in Maldives, Nepal and Kuwait at the request of their governments.
6. Besides supplying these drugs, Government of India’s humanitarian relief includes the supply of essential lifesaving drugs, antibiotics, medical consumables, and other laboratory and hospital equipment to a number of countries including St. Lucia. Despite that, the lockdown has made the logistics of humanitarian relief operation extremely complex, innovative means are being used to ensure delivery.
7. India is emerging as a net provider of health security on a global scale and is enhancing its reputation as the “pharmacy of the world”. It is also making its medical and public health expertise and capacity available to the entire South Asian region. A COVID-19 Emergency Fund for SAARC countries, based on voluntary contributions, has been created. India has made US$10 million available for this fund.
8. India has always championed the cause of small Nations and Small Island Developing States in particular on issues directly impacting the livelihood of people like sustainable development, climate change.
9. India has contributed its strengths in the digital and information technology space to develop a ‘SAARC COVID19 Information Exchange Platform (COINEX)’ platform for use by all SAARC (The South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation) countries to facilitate exchange of specialized information and tools on COVID-19 among designated health professionals in the region. The SAARC Disaster Management Centre in Gandhinagar, India has set up a website (http://www.covid19-sdmc.org/ ) linked to official Covid-19 websites of individual SAARC countries that is being constantly updated.
10. The Indian medical professionals have also been conducting on-line training for their counterparts not only in the SAARC region but other regions as well, thereby helping them in building their essential capacities.
11. India is also managing a massive incoming and outgoing evacuation exercise from all regions. Outgoing evacuations of more than 58,000 foreign nationals from multiple locations in India to 72 countries have been facilitated. During the early stages of the crisis, the Government of India had evacuated 2465 Indian nationals and 48 foreigners from China (Wuhan), Iran, Japan, and Italy under very difficult circumstances in specially arranged flights. Another 1609 stranded Indian citizens were repatriated from Malaysia, Singapore, Amsterdam, and Paris with the help of commercial flights after the travel restrictions were imposed.
12. Prime Minister Modi has participated in G20, SAARC and NAM virtual meetings and conveyed India’s intention to be a responsible global citizen and has had about a couple of scores of interactions with his counterparts across
India is responding with innovations and with a coordinated effort to the limitations imposed by the global lockdown and building a larger global consensus to deal with the current and post COVID-19 pandemic.