Wed, 03 Jun 2020

New Delhi [India], April 1 (ANI): Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) is at the forefront in India's fight against COVID-19 of which more than 1500 cases have been detected in the country.

According to sources, Prime Minister Narendra Modi has asked Indian envoys across the globe to make arrangements to procure ventilators, PPE kits, and N 95 masks. India is in touch with many countries including Vietnam, Korea, and China.

MEA has already evacuated 2,500 Indians from various countries. While 1,600 were brought from transit points by third-country flights, 100 foreign nationals were also evacuated from third countries. Local missions are taking care of Indians who are still stuck.

Special ICMR team has been sent to Iran for testing Indians stranded there. Those with negative report are being sent back home while others are getting treatment.

According to sources, the MEA 24x7 COVID center is playing a key role in combating COVID. Seventy-five young IFS officers, working under additional secretary-rank officer, "are working enthusiastically round-the-clock at the center and they are being supplemented by Indian missions abroad," the sources said.

They said the center has dedicated helplines and region-specific lines are also there to reach out to Indians. COVID center also collects data from other countries on how they are tackling the disease and it is shared with other ministries to understand the trend and best practices.

The center is also helping foreign nationals to go to their respective countries and is in constant touch with resident envoys here.

Sources said that at the diplomatic level also, India is engaging with the world and is leading from the front.

PM Modi initiated the SAARC conference and also played a role in initialising the G-20 conference along with Saudi and Australian counterparts.

According to sources, in the last 10 days, the Prime Minister had a conversation with 10 heads of states including France, Qatar, UAE, and Israel. PM Modi also held video conferencing with India's heads of missions.

To supplement PM's efforts, External Affairs Minister (EAM) S Jaishankar is also holding talks at the bilateral level. He has engaged with the European Union, China, Sri Lanka, Nepal, and the United States.

Foreign Secretary Harsh Vardhan Shringla also recently engaged with several of his counterparts and also attended the pacific conference.

Sources said it is a very unprecedented situation and there needs to be a concerted effort from across the world and "India is leading the fight." (ANI)

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