Narendra Modi, Prime minister of India | Though almost all of India’s Prime Ministers have come from the nearly 80% of the population that is Hindu, only Modi has governed as if no one else matters,” writes Karl Vick, Time editor. (Image: Reuters)
Extraordinary times require extraordinary solutions, Prime Minister Narendra Modi said during a video conference on Monday with 130 Indian missions abroad while referring to the 21-day nationwide lockdown to fight coronavirus.
In a nearly 75-minute interaction, Modi said India had taken "unprecedented" and early steps from mid-January to reduce the risk of importing the coronavirus infection and prevent a large outbreak. He said it included the world's largest quarantine and lockdown, according to the ministry of external affairs.
"The prime minister noted that extraordinary times require extraordinary solutions, which was why even in this globalised era, most of the world had quarantined itself," it said.
Modi termed said the lockdown as an unavoidable step to fight the pandemic, adding it was 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.
The prime minister complimented the heads of mission for their efforts to evacuate Indians stranded in some of the epicentres of the crisis and exhorted them to take five specific steps including paying close attention to the evolving international political and economic situation and ensuring their own health and safety as well as of their teams and families.
Modi also asked the heads of mission to attend to Indians stranded abroad due to international travel restrictions and address issues arising out of from their unplanned stay abroad with their host governments.
The prime minister also asked the missions to stay alert and identify best practices, innovations, scientific breakthroughs to deal with COVID 10 and help procurement of medical equipment for India's fight against the pandemic.
"He also advised Heads of Mission to suitably publicize the newly-established PM-CARES Fund to mobilize donations from abroad," the MEA said. As the crisis also impacts the economy, Modi advised heads of mission to focus on ensuring that commerce in essential supplies, logistics chains and remittances are unaffected.
Ten heads of mission including from Beijing, Washington, Tehran, Rome, Berlin, Kathmandu, Abu Dhabi, Kabul and Seoul offered their perspectives to the prime minister on the pandemic and overall situation in those countries.
They shared feedback regarding appreciation in these countries of the resolute measures taken by India to combat this pandemic, the MEA said.