External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar on Friday said that the Indian government had dealt with the challenge posed by COVID-19 pandemic in many ways like a people’s movement by involving people and motivating them.
“In many countries, people look at it like a public health response or a governance challenge. We have actually dealt with it in many ways like a people’s movement, that you actually get people involved and motivate them,” he said an event hosted by Asia Society.
The minister said that the Indian government had done right things such as stopping international travel and a nationwide lockdown in the early stages of the pandemic.
“When it came initially, we did all the right things, we stopped international travel much before most countries did, and we had our lockdown much before most countries did. When the pandemic hit India, there was not a single producer of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE), there were about two producers of masks, and there were no producers of ventilators. So if you look at typically the kind of equipment you regard as critical to COVID-19 response, it just wasn’t there,” he told Asia Society Policy Institute (ASPI) President Kevin Rudd, a former Australian Prime Minister.
“Today, we have more than 100 major producers of PPE, there are 25 plus companies producing ventilators, and there are 10 big domestic manufacturers of N95,” Jaishankar added.
He mentioned that in the initial weeks and months, India was looking for equipment, and today it was exporting a lot of this equipment to the world.
“We have set up almost 15,000 COVID-19 centres by converting hospitals and other public buildings as dedicated facilities for COVID-19 treatment,” he said.
Jaishankar lauded Prime Minister Narendra Modi calling him a great motivator.