Praising India for taking an “empathetic” view of the coronavirus crisis and providing medical aid to 108 countries, a European think-tank asserted that the regional leadership assumed by New Delhi has helped South Asia to successfully contain the pandemic so far

In a commentary published on Friday, the European Foundation for South Asian Studies (EFSAS) said that the pro-active strategy adopted by India and the rest of South Asia in tackling Covid-19, at least till now, yielded good results on the ground.

Countries in the region have been able to stem the virus by an effective combination of the early imposition of travel restrictions, screening of all incoming flyers followed by quarantine of those showing symptoms or arriving from heavily affected countries, and putting in place strict lockdowns.

"The pro-active strategy adopted by India and the rest of South Asia in tackling Covid-19 has, at least till now, yielded good results on the ground. The total number of Covid-19 positive cases in South Asia is relatively low when compared to the close to a million reported in Europe and about 700,000 in the US as of April 15," said the think-tank.

EFSAS has compared the different approaches of China and India to the crisis, saying that Beijing is trying to make a quick buck by capitalising on adversity by shipping planeloads of substandard medical supplies to the worst-hit countries, while the humanitarian side of New Delhi's response has been applauded internationally.

"India has taken a rather empathetic view of the crisis and has begun providing a whopping 85 million hydroxychloroquine tablets and 500 million paracetamol tablets to a total of 108 countries. It had initially banned the export of these drugs, but reversed that decision as soon as it became apparent that the ban was out of place given the larger humanitarian challenge at hand," EFSAS noted.

Coronavirus, which first emerged at an infamous wet market in China, has affected the whole world. According to the latest data of John Hopkins Univesity, the number of people infected globally is 2,214,861 and the death toll stands at 150,948.

Global international architecture like the United Nations and World Health Organisation's (WHO) weak response has allowed the virus to grow uncontrollably.

The think-tank said that the United Nations (UN) has been "consigned" to the margins in the international order's response to the Covid-19 crisis, and has "come out looking jaded and toothless in light of the fact that the nation, China, from which the Covid-19 virus is near-universally acknowledged to have originated, has prevented the UN Security Council (UNSC) from even discussing the pandemic," it said.

Though so far, South Asia has been able to control the virus, irresponsible behaviour by any one country in the region could have a cascading effect on the whole of South Asia, EFSAS underlined.

"South Asia must guard against any complacency in the coming weeks and months as the underlying conditions for a rapid spread of the virus still exist in this highly populous region. If the progression of the disease is not kept under check, the ultimate fatalities due to the coronavirus in South Asia may dwarf anything likely to be seen in China, the US, Italy, Spain, Iran, or anywhere else in the world," it said.

Courtesy: Times of India

Times of India