India is looking at South Korea, Germany and China for procurement of cutting-edge technology and adopting best practices being followed by them in successfully containing the spread of coronavirus amid looming risk of the country entering the community infection stage of the pandemic.
Indian missions in these three countries have been tasked to immediately identifying possible areas of cooperation and engage with relevant authorities for procurement of medical equipment and technology. The move comes as India saw rapid increase in number of positive coronavirus cases in the last few days. The need for looking at best practices, innovations, scientific breakthroughs and medical equipment to fight the pandemic was highlighted extensively by Prime Minister Narendra Modi during a video conference he held with heads of 130 Indian missions on Monday.
Government officials said India is specifically looking at South Korea’s approach of widespread testing and significant use of digital tracking of suspected cases to contain the pandemic. The South Korean model of ‘trace, test and treat strategy’ has received global recognition. Unlike majority of the countries dealing with the pandemic, South Korea has not resorted to any lockdown and allowed business and economic activities to go on as usual.
As China managed to flatten the curve of new infections after reporting over 80,000 cases and 3,300 deaths, India is also looking at China along with a very few other countries to procure medical equipment and technology to cater to expanding demand of medical infrastructure across the country. “We have to prepare for the future requirement. That is why we are scouting global markets for best available technology and medical equipment,” said an official.
The Indian embassy in Beijing has been tasked to coordinate with relevant authorities in China for procurement of medical equipment. On multiple occasions, China said that it was ready to extend possible assistance to India in dealing with the pandemic. Officials said India is in touch with a number of suppliers in China for immediate procurement of 10,000 ventilators. India has recorded over 1,600 positive cases of coronavirus and at least 38 deaths so far. Globally, the virus has infected more than 850,000 people and claimed around 42,000 lives.
Officials said India is also examining Germany’s efforts to check the pandemic. The leading European nation has asked several of its car manufacturers to produce ventilators and other medical equipment to deal with rising cases of the infection. The Indian envoy in Washington is coordinating with the Trump administration for cooperation in laboratory tests for the virus infection, sources said. External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo spoke over phone to discuss a coordinated effort by India and the US to respond to the pandemic.
Earlier on March 14, the two top diplomats discussed ways in which India and the US could cooperate to address this global challenge. The number of those infected by the deadly disease surged to 164,000 and fatalities crossed 3,100 in the US.