COVID-19 crisis: India's navy ships, medical teams on stand by for neighbours

Written By: Sidhant Sibal WION
New Delhi, Delhi, India Published: Apr 02, 2020, 10:00 PM(IST)

Representative image. Photograph:( Facebook )

Story highlights

India had announced the formation of a COVID emergency fund with a contribution of $10 million in which all SAARC countries barring Pakistan has announced contribution. 

As part of its neighbourhood first policy, 6 Indian Navy ships are on standby for assistance to neighbouring countries over COVID crisis. Along with Navy ships, top sources told WION that, 5 medical teams are standby for deployment in the Maldives, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, Nepal, Bhutan & Afghanistan if the situation worsens. 

On March 30 India sent medical supplies to Nepal. Sources said, Dornier & Mi 17 were used to position medical load at Gorakhpur on Monday & the load was thereafter taken to Nepal by road.

In March, Indian PM Modi had proposed a SAARC meet on the COVID crisis via video conference in which all SAARC heads of state/govt participated barring the Pakistani PM Imran Khan who was represented at a junior level. 

India had announced the formation of a COVID emergency fund with a contribution of $10 million in which all SAARC countries barring Pakistan has announced contribution.  Sri Lanka contributed $ 5 million, Bangladesh contributed $ 1.5 million, Nepal $ 1 million, Afghanistan $ 1 million, Maldives $ 200,000 and Bhutan $ 100,000 taking the total amount in the COVID-19 Emergency Fund to USD 18.3 million. New Delhi also said, that its rapid response team are at disposal of any SAARC Member country.

Since the SAARC leader meeting, health officials of countries have had a video conference and commerce ministry officials will soon meet via the same format.

As an early responder, India evacuated several South Asian nationals stranded in Wuhan, which was once the epicentre of the COVID crisis. India got back 23 Bangladeshi, 9 Maldivian from Wuhan and 2 Sri Lankans and One Nepali from quarantined cruise ship Diamond Princess off the coast of Japan.

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