Foreign Secretary Harsh Vardhan Shringla has been engaged with counterparts from US, Australia, Japan, South Korea, New Zealand, and Vietnam; in weekly telephonic conversations to share ideas and best practices in the Indo-Pacific region. For responding to COVID-19 pandemic. US Deputy Secretary of State Stephen Biegun initiated this practice of weekly Tele conversations.
External Affairs Ministry said, in a statement, that these discussions among the partner countries have helped shape informed and coordinated responses to the evacuation of stranded nationals from each other’s territories. The discussions have also helped in the maintenance of critical supplies of life-saving medicines and protective health equipment; and extension and facilitation of visas for each other’s nationals. Moreover, these conversations brought the need for real-time communication among partner countries; on the evolving challenges and learning from each other’s best practices. Additionally, they have underlined the need for a new template of globalization; and for international institutions to reflect contemporary realities.
Several ideas for dealing with the COVID-19 pandemic and to mitigate its impact have been shared by partner countries; besides information on national efforts. Earlier this week, External Affairs Minister S. Jaishankar took part in a videoconference; led by US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo. It also included foreign ministers of South Korea, Israel, Australia, New Zealand and Vietnam.