One year of Modi 2.0 | Ministry of External Affairs highlights ‘Vande Bharat’

One year of Modi 2.0 | Ministry of External Affairs highlights ‘Vande Bharat’

Ministry highlights ‘Vande Bharat’ and also lists India’s response to COVID-19 crisis among the achievements in one year.

Highlighting India’s response to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic worldwide at the top of its list of “achievements” in the first year of the NDA government’s second-term, the Ministry of External Affars said India had played a “leading” role globally. The document, that was released on Saturday, also comes a few weeks ahead of India’s election to the non-permanent seat at the UN Security Council for 2021-22.

Equipment exports

According to the list released by the MEA, India supplied COVID-19 related medical supplies to 154 countries, deployed “rapid response teams” (RRTs) in different countries, and held more than 100 “virtual diplomatic meetings”.

The achievements listed the government’s “Vande Bharat mission” for its “mammoth coordinating efforts” to bring home more than 40,000 Indians on 230 by commercial flights and naval ships.

More than 3,00,000 Indians, who have been stranded in various parts of the world because of the travel restrictions imposed by the government as part of its lockdown, have registered with various Indian missions abroad to return home, and are expected to be flown home, at their own cost, on special flights in the next few months.

“Corona-era Diplomacy [was]activated”, the MEA’s list said, referring to Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s video conference with leaders of the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) , where a special COVID-19 Emergency fund was created for South Asian countries. India had contributed $10 million to the fund.

In a separate section on India’s “Neighbourhood First” policy, the MEA listed visits by leaders of Bhutan, Nepal, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, Myanmar and Mauritius in the last year, and visits by Mr. Modi to Bhutan, Maldives and Sri Lanka, where he announced a number of infrastructure and cultural projects. In Bhutan, he inaugurated the 720 MW Mangdechhu Hydropower Project.

With Nepal, where tensions over the Kalapani dispute have been at the top of the news in the past few weeks, India inaugurated the Motihari-Amlekhgunj cross-border petroleum products pipeline, an Integrated Check Post at Biratnagar, and 45,000 homes rebuilt with GOI assistance as part of the post-2015 earthquake reconstruction projects.

Rallies with Trump

In terms of global diplomacy, the MEA listed the “elevation of ties with the U.S.”, including joint rallies by Mr. Modi and President Donald Trump in Houston and Ahmedabad, defence cooperation and space partnership with Russia, and the second Informal India-China Summit in Mamallapuram at the top.

The MEA highlighted the Prime Minister’s visit to the United Nations General Assembly last year. In June, the UN General Assembly will hold elections for the five non-permanent member seats in the Security Council for 2021-2022, where India is assured a place as the sole contender for the Asia-Pacific seat.

Last year, India had won the unanimous support of all countries in the 55-member Asia-Pacific Group , including that of China and Pakistan, and it is expected to easily win two-thirds of the UNGA votes required.

However, diplomatic efforts are on for India to win the maximum number of votes from the UNGA’s 193 members. In 2010, the last time it was voted in to the non-permanent seat for 2011-2012, India won 187 of the 190 votes in the UNGA.

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