By Sajeev K Peter
KUWAIT: The Indian Embassy released a monograph titled ‘Indian Diplomacy and COVID Response’ published by Indian Council of World Affairs at an event held at the Embassy auditorium on Sunday. The event was held under the aegis of ‘Azadi Ka Amrit Mahotsav’ marking the 75th anniversary of India’s independence and 60th anniversary of diplomatic relations between Kuwait and India.
“The purpose of this book is to present the diplomatic response by India’s Ministry of External Affairs and its missions abroad to the COVID-19 challenge,” said Indian Ambassador Sibi George while delivering his opening remarks on the occasion. The book looks at how the ministry and its missions managed within the existing resources by adopting a matrix-structure and assigned specific pandemic-related roles over and above their normal responsibilities.
“The COVID pandemic has been the greatest shock to the international system since World War II. It was a health catastrophe that delivered an enormous economic shock. The Ministry of External Affairs of India and its missions abroad were faced with an unprecedented situation. India being a country with global presence and global interests and with a major diaspora, disruptions caused by the pandemic have had a significant and continuing effect,” he said.
Speaking specifically about Kuwait, the ambassador said: “Our cooperation in the fight against the pandemic is the best example of what a traditional partnership of two friendly countries – India and Kuwait – can do when faced with exceptional challenges, which is to help each other unconditionally in times of need.”
George recollected the joint cooperation shown by India and Kuwait in the fight against the pandemic including the visit of an Indian emergency medical team to Kuwait and shipment of oxygen cylinders and liquid medical oxygen tankers to India from Kuwait with the personal engagement of the leadership of the two countries and the support of the Indian diaspora in Kuwait. “A lot of coordination and efforts with Kuwaiti authorities and Indian authorities were put in 24/7 by the embassy team, which yielded positive results,” the ambassador said.
“When we look back today, the role played by our medical professionals in Kuwait, our doctors and our nurses and other medical staff always stand out. Our medical professionals in particular have toiled hard for over two years; they worked selflessly to protect our lives and that of our loved ones. And while doing this they were putting their own lives and that of their family members at risk,” the ambassador said, urging the audience to stand for a moment and pay respect to the medical professionals and others who lost their lives in their efforts to save lives during the pandemic.
Role of community hailed
He said the diaspora displayed its unity in its fullness during the pandemic, when all Indians joined hands with the embassy to help each other, transcending religious, linguistic and regional diversities. “I would like to also mention the role played by the Indian Community Support Group (ICSG) that the embassy set up along with the Indian Business and Professional Network (IBPC), Indian Doctors Forum (IDF), IIT IIM Alumni Association and business and industry units like NBTC and AIRTEC,” he said.
George urged the community to maintain the spirit of unity in all its future endeavors during the ‘Azadi Ka Amrit Mahotsav’ that is being celebrated currently and also during the ‘AmritKaal’, as India heads towards the centenary of its independence.
“Ten years, 15 years, 20 years down the line when history is written and next generations study about this COVID-19 era, they will remember our community in Kuwait not as victims, but as pathbreakers in the way we faced the COVID-19 pandemic-related challenges with unity, unmatched fortitude and bravery,” George concluded.
The ambassador felicitated members of the executive committee of ICSG, IDF, IBPC, IIT-IIM Alumni Association and a few major business firms for the role played by them to support the community during the pandemic and supply of oxygen to India.