“If the 21st Century is to be the Asian Century, it cannot be without greater integration among the countries of South Asia and the Indian Ocean island countries. The spirit of regional solidarity that you have shown during the pandemic has proven that such integration is possible,” PM Modi said while addressing a workshop on “Covid-19 Management: Experience, Good Practices and Way Forward” with Pakistan, Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, Maldives, Mauritius, Nepal, Seychelles, and Sri Lanka along with Indian officials and experts.
Special visa scheme, regional Air Ambulance agreement in Asia!
PM Modi proposed the creation of a special visa scheme for our doctors and nurses, citing that this will help them travel quickly within the region during a health emergency at the request of the receiving country. Apart from this, PM Modi sought to know whether the civil aviation ministries of the respective can coordinate a regional Air Ambulance agreement for medical contingencies.
PM Modi has also proposed that all the nations taking part in the workshop create a regional platform for collating, compiling, and studying data about the effectiveness of COVID-19 vaccines among the populations of these countries. PM Modi also asked whether a regional network for promoting technology-assisted epidemiology, for preventing future pandemics can be created or not.
PM Modi recalled the creation of the COVID-19 Emergency Response Fund to meet the immediate costs of fighting the pandemic and sharing of resources – medicines, PPE, and testing equipment. He also noted the sharing of experiences and learning from each other’s best practices in testing, infection control, and medical waste management. “This spirit of collaboration is a valuable takeaway from this pandemic. Through our openness and determination, we have managed to achieve one of the lowest fatality rates in the world. This deserves to be applauded. Today, the hopes of our region and the world are focused on the rapid deployment of vaccines. In this too, we must maintain the same cooperative and collaborative spirit,” said PM Modi.