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A Viral Affair

The spread of Coronavirus in different parts of the globe has hit the Indian diplomacy, along with world economy, hard as Prime Minister Narendra Modi has cancelled quite a few trips to foreign lands in recent times…
Nearly four months ago, it was decided that the Indian premier would visit Brussels in March 2020 to boost ties with the European Union (EU). The visit was an important one for India, which needs more investments from the 27-member bloc. At the same time, the South Asian nation is ready to boost its exports to Europe. However, Coronavirus has prompted PM Modi, as well as Brussels, to cancel the event. Even, the Indian Ministry of External Affairs cannot confirm a next date of the EU-India Summit…
PM Modi was also scheduled to visit neighbouring Bangladesh after five years. According to sources close to the External Affairs Ministry, the two countries planned to discuss the possibility of using one another’s ports and water-routes during the visit. Such a move is important for India to strengthen its trade and strategic positions in the Bay of Bengal, and also in the Indo-Pacific region. However, the threat of the Coronavirus has thrown this plan in jeopardy, too!

Premier N Modi.jpg
PM Modi

The outbreak of Coronavirus has cancelled another important visit. After US President Donald Trump ‘s recent trip to India, Washington announced that the US Secretary of Defence, Mark Esper, would arrive in New Delhi on March 14 to finalise the US-India Arms Deal, and to discuss bilateral co-operation in Afghanistan especially after the US-Taliban Peace Accord. However, Esper cancelled his visit due to the Coronavirus outbreak.
A senior External Affairs Ministry official has said that it is the first time when an outbreak of a virus has prompted the Indian premier and other top foreign officials to cancel their important overseas tours! In an article published on March 12, the New York Times said that Coronavirus is a special risk to half of the American population, who have chronic health problems. As per the article, nearly 40% of the Americans have more than one chronic health problems, such as heart disease, cancer, diabetes, etc. And, all of these can exacerbate a Coronavirus infection! Therefore, the US Administration has urged those (mainly in their 80s and older) to sharply curtail their activities in order to reduce exposing themselves to the infection. Many other countries, too, have issued such advisories… and, the diplomacy is paying the price.

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