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Indian Army To Dispatch Teams To Afghanistan, Lanka, B’Desh, Bhutan To Battle COVID-19

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Amidst growing pandemic fears in the SAARC region, the Indian Army has extended a helping hand to the neighboring countries. The Army is preparing teams to station in Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, Bhutan, and Afghanistan to help the impoverished countries fight the deadly virus.

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Last month, a team of 14 Indin army personnel were sent to the Maldives to help the country in setting up coronavirus testing laboratories and guide local medical specialists to battle the pandemic.

India has also promised to stand by its maritime neighbor Maldives in these tough times.  PM Modi in his recent tweet said  India and Maldives stand together to fight the common enemy.

Kuwait also received a 15 member team from India for helping the country in setting up the necessary pre-requisites for COVID-19 testing which is also a part of India’s bilateral relationship with the country.

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Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, Bhutan, and Afghanistan are also going to receive aid from the Modi government as teams are being readied by the Indian Army to help them tackle the pandemic.

This gesture is also a part of India’s ongoing effort to push for a common framework in fighting the pandemic in the SAARC region.

The contribution of resources and aid for other countries comes after PM’s video conference on March 15 where plans were pitched for formulating a joint strategy to fight COVID-19 in the SAARC region. PM Modi also proposed an emergency fund with an initial offer of USD 10 million.

India’s offer to help the SAARC countries which are now under severe economic impact due to the deadly virus has been widely appreciated. India also agreed to supply the anti-malarial HCQ drug 55 countries.  A number of countries including the US, Mauritius, and Seychelles have already received the drug.

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India is one of the largest producers of HCQ in the world and exports $50 m worth of it every year. India meets 80-85% of the medicine’s global demand and currently produces 10 metric tonnes (MT) and is estimated to increase to 40 MT by the end of the month.

Several countries in India’s neighborhood, such as the Maldives, Mauritius, and Seychelles, have been supplied the HCQ drug as part of grants. Several of these countries are dependent on India’s pharmaceutical industry to meet their needs. The exports were allowed only after a stock-taking by an empowered committee, the Indian Council of Medical Research, and the drug controller.

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