New Delhi: “This is not the last crisis we will face. We have created structures that can surge capacities to deal with future crises,” says India’s Foreign Secretary, Harsh V Shringla.
The leadership provided by Prime Minister Narendra Modi “as we dealt with the challenges of the pandemic has been inspirational,” he wrote in a newspaper article.
“It is obvious that we coped and then adapted. Our ability to respond to crises and deal with the unexpected was tested to the utmost. India rose to the challenge of the pandemic,” he added.
Dealing with various aspects thrown by the challenge unknown to the world for magnitude and its sheer variety, Shringla says, “The pandemic was not just a health care and economic shock. It is a significant geopolitical event. Among other things, it established that crises of this nature require more international cooperation, not less.”
He pointed out that diplomacy’s “normal” business did not pause due to the pandemic.
“We adapted rapidly to a new world of digital and virtual diplomacy. A new type of hybrid diplomacy has emerged in which the virtual combines with the personal…..India took several steps that placed it at the forefront of global efforts to combat Covid-19. We joined and catalysed several diplomatic initiatives to deal with various aspects of the pandemic,” the foreign secretary said.
“We worked through, and with, multilateral and plurilateral platforms such as the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (Saarc), G20, the World Health Organization (WHO) and the World Trade Organization (WTO). We worked with our Quad partners on several pandemic-related activities,” he added.
The Foreign Secretary also said India walked the talk when it came to being part of the international community in fighting the pandemic.
“….one of the most remarkable features of our response was “Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam (the world is one family)” in operation. In its darkest and most dire moments, India never forgot that it belonged to a greater international community,” said Shringla.
“Our leadership gave importance to a forward-looking agenda that made India’s capacities available to the international community. India walked the talk when it came to being a force for good and a responsible international citizen,” he writes, further adding, “India not only shared in the suffering but also rose above it.”