Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Monday made an indirect reference to Pakistan during an online meeting of the Non Aligned Movement (NAM) Contact Group, and said some countries were fomenting terrorism in the midst of the global coronavirus pandemic. The Indian leader supported a more representative post-COVID-19 world order and urged the World Health Organization (WHO) to focus on building health capacity in the developing countries.
‘Other deadly viruses’
“Even as we fight COVID virus, some people are busy spreading other deadly viruses such as terrorism, fake news and doctored videos to divide communities and countries,” said Mr. Modi in a video statement to the NAM grouping, which met on the theme of “United against COVID-19 ”. This may be seen as a reference by Prime Minister Modi to Pakistan’s role in supporting cross-border terrorism in recent days, with a spike in ceasefire violations across the Line of Control in Kashmir. On Sunday, India lost five security personnel in an anti-terror operation in north Kashmir’s Handwara.
The comment also takes a dig at Pakistan’s alleged role in the ongoing social media spat between Indian and Gulf-based commentators. Indian authorities have maintained that some of the social media posts against Indian interests in the Gulf were promoted by Pakistan-based activists.
Mr. Modi was joined by more than 300 heads of state and governments from across the world in the virtual summit. That apart, the meeting included the President of the UN General Assembly Professor Tijjani Muhammed Bande, UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres, African Union Chairperson Musa Faki Mahamat, European Union High Representative Josep Borrel, and Director General of the WHO Dr. Tedros Ghebreyesus. The leaders announced the creation of a Task Force for a “common database” showing medical, social and humanitarian details from the participating countries.
“NAM should call on WHO to focus on health capacity building in developing countries,” Mr. Modi said about the path ahead for the global health body.
Prime Minister Modi highlighted India’s constructive role in dealing with the COVID-19 pandemic and said India has been carrying out “disaster management drills” while other countries had been organising military drills. He said the post-COVID-19 world order should be more representative. “The post-COVID world needs a new template for globalisation,” said Mr. Modi, urging reform in international organisations.
The summit leaders adopted a declaration underlining the importance of international solidarity in the fight against COVID-19.