Coronavirus lockdown | PM Modi holds first ever video conference with heads of Indian missions

In an address to 130 envoys, he tells them to help contain the economic fallout of COVID-19 pandemic

March 30, 2020 11:00 pm | Updated 11:17 pm IST - NEW DELHI

Prime Minister Narendra Modi during his interaction through video conference on COVID-19, in New Delhi on March 23, 2020.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi during his interaction through video conference on COVID-19, in New Delhi on March 23, 2020.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Monday held a video conference with the heads of India’s diplomatic missions and urged them to assist Indian nationals who are stranded in various countries that are severely affected by the novel coronavirus outbreak.

Also read | Interactive map of confirmed coronavirus cases in India

Addressing 130 Indian envoys, Mr. Modi urged them to help in containing the economic fallout of the viral pandemic by ensuring continuity of trade and commercial channels between India and the rest of the world.

“He called on Heads of Indian Missions to help boost the morale of such compatriots abroad, and to help them address issues arising from their unplanned stay abroad with their host Governments, and also to address other problems Indians might face abroad, including arranging shelter, where necessary and feasible,” stated a press release issued by the Ministry of External Affairs summing up the video conference.

Indian envoys in several of the worst affected countries, like China, Iran, Italy, United States and South Korea, were selected to brief the Prime Minister on the steps they had taken to deal with the needs of Indians in those countries.

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Mr. Modi briefed the Indian envoys about the lockdown and quarantine measures currently under way in various countries, including India. “Extraordinary times require extraordinary solutions,” he told them. He asked the envoys to focus on the countries of their posting and identify “best practices, innovations, scientific breakthroughs and sources to procure medical equipment” to help India fight the pandemic at home and abroad.

The envoys reported to Mr. Modi about the steps they have taken to help Indian workers and students who were assisted by the Indian diplomats in recent past. Sources informed that Mr. Modi was briefed about the steps being taken to look after the condition of the stranded Indians in Iran which has been hit hard by the pandemic. The German and South Korean conditions also received special attention during the briefing especially since the Prime Minister wanted to know about the steps these two countries took to reduce mortality among the coronavirus-affected patients. Necessary items for export from the west to help India fight the crisis were also discussed.

Also read | The Boxing Federation of India motivates boxers through video conferencing

Since the outbreak of the novel coronavirus crisis, Prime Minister Modi has held several video conferences for better international cooperation to deal with the global pandemic. Apart from the interaction with the SAARC leaders, he also participated in the G20 virtual summit.

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