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Indian Foreign Policy in the Times of the Pandemic

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Published: 2nd Nov, 2020

Indian Foreign Policy in the Times of the Pandemic
  • The current international environment is challenging. We are living through the greatest shock to the international system since the Second World War.
  • What began as health emergency has expanded into an economic disruption, a geo-political shock and a social challenge of unprecedented magnitude. How we deal with these immense difficulties-and whether we are able to transform some of them into opportunities-will influence our future trajectory as a nation.
  • We are a country with global interests; we have one of the largest and most able Diasporas.
  • We are a powerhouse in the services sectors. We look at the World as a borderless economy with an interlinked marketplace.
  • India has begun sending dispatches of rescue medicines as gifts to neighbouring countries to help them fight the corona virus pandemic.
  • The government was sending drugs to Bhutan, Bangladesh, Afghanistan, Nepal, Myanmar, Seychelles, Mauritius, and some African countries.
  • The government has also cleared the export of Covid-19 drugs to countries such as the US, Spain, Brazil, Bahrain, Germany, and the UK in line with the commercial contracts signed with Indian pharmaceutical companies.
  • India’s diplomacy has played a major role in managing the crisis, be it the evacuation of distressed people or following the pandemic minute by minute, or settling immediate and complicated issues including facilitating the evacuation of stranded foreign nationals in India.
  • Countries like India which were already making a concerted push towards Digitisation through its programs like Digital India can stand to advantage from the changed circumstances.
  • There is at present a leadership crisis at the global level as no country is looking at the pandemic as a common fight of mankind against the virus.
  • When the world is questioning the role played by China – in exporting much needed protective gear and testing kits that some governments have reportedly found faulty, India has offered not just supportive medical staff but also an entire buffet of generic medicines, medical training, and medical tourism.
  • The Prime Minister has shown commendable initiative in convening leaders of the SAARC nations for a regional collaborative effort on COVID-19.
  • The COVID-19 pandemic presents India with an opportunity to revive multilateralism, become a strong and credible champion of internationalism, and assume a leadership role.
  • The Indian generosity in the times of this pandemic has not gone unnoticed and has earned India well-deserved goodwill. India also enjoys a world image of being a robust democracy and non-predatory as opposed to China.

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