Indian Diplomacy and Covid Response


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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.

ICWA The Indian Council of World Affairs (ICWA) was established in 1943 by a group of eminent intellectuals led by Sir Tej Bahadur Sapru and Dr. H.N. Kunzru. Its principal objective was to create an Indian perspective on international relations and act as a repository of knowledge and thinking on foreign policy issues. The Council today conducts policy research through an in-house faculty as well as through external experts. It regularly organises an array of intellectual activities including conferences, seminars, roundtable discussions, lectures and brings out a range of publications. It has a well-stocked library, an active website and publishes the journal India Quarterly. ICWA has over 50 MoUs with international think tanks and research institutions to promote better understanding on international issues and develop areas of mutual cooperation. The Council also has partnerships with leading research institutions, think tanks and universities in India.


List of Annexures

List of Contributors

1. Introduction
2. Vande Bharat Mission
3. Evacuation–Outgoing
4. Humanitarian Assistance and Disaster Relief
5. Procurement Phase I
6. Procurement Phase Ii
7. Vaccines
8. Diplomatic Initiatives
9. Role of Missions
10. Working with the Armed Forces
11. Publicity and Outreach
12. Administration
13. Case Study on Outsourcing: HllLifecare Ltd.
14. Covid Timeline



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