India’s leadership helped South Asia to contain coronavirus so far, says European think-tank

European think-tank has asserted that the regional leadership assumed by New Delhi has helped South Asia to successfully contain the pandemic so far.

In a statement published last week, 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.

“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.

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.

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.

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