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, like the rest of government and society, was faced with an unprecedented situation. India is a country with a global presence and global interests. It is a country with a major diaspora, with a globalised economy that is linked with global capital, technology, and trade flows. The disruptions caused by the pandemic, therefore, have had a significant and continuing effect. The purpose of this monograph is to present an administrative and diplomatic response of the Ministry of External Affairs to this unprecedented challenge. It looks at how the Ministry managed within the existing resources by adopting a matrix-structure in which the existing chains of command were re-engineered and assigned specific pandemic related roles over and above their normal responsibilities. This monograph attempts to identify these broad lines of that response and tries to draw lessons and identify replicable components.
‘Indian Diplomacy and Covid Response’ is a detailed record of the administrative and diplomatic response of the Ministry of External Affairs to the COVID-19 pandemic. The initial response was necessarily ad hoc but as the pandemic persisted, the Ministry responded with a sui generis administrative model. This monograph attempts to identify the broad lines of that response and to draw lessons, and identify scalable and replicable components. The chapterisation reflects the broad verticals along which the Ministry’s response was organised. These include Vande Bharat, Outbound Evacuation, Procurement, HADR, Vaccines, Diplomatic Initiatives, Outreach, Role of Missions and Working with Armed Forces.
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