Citing the region’s collaborative effort to deal with the COVID-19 pandemic, Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Thursday called for greater integration among South Asia and the Indian Ocean island countries to deal with their challenges.
“If the 21st century is to be the Asian century, it can not be so without greater integration among the countries of South Asia and the Indian Ocean islands. The spirit of regional solidarity shown during the pandemic has proven that such integration is possible,” he said at a workshop on “COVID-19 Management: Experience, Good Practices and Way Forward” with 10 neighbouring countries, including those in the extended neighbourhood.
In his virtual address, Modi said the spirit of collaboration among these countries is a valuable takeaway from this pandemic and pitched for a similar cooperation in the ongoing deployment of vaccine.
“Through our openness and determination, we have managed to achieve one of the lowest fatality rates in the world. Today, the hopes of our region and the world are focused on rapid deployment of vaccines. In this too, we must maintain the same cooperative and collaborative spirit,” he said. The prime minister then offered some suggestions, including creating a special visa scheme for the region’s doctors and nurses so that they can travel quickly within it during health emergencies on the request of the receiving country.