Prime Minister Narendra Modi interacted with Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation co-chair, Bill Gates via video conference yesterday. They discussed the global response to COVID-19, and the importance of global coordination on scientific innovation and R&D to combat the pandemic.
The Prime Minister underlined the conscious approach that India has adopted in its fight against the health crisis – an approach based on ensuring public engagement through appropriate messaging. He explained how this people-centric bottom-up approach has helped win acceptability for physical distancing, respect for front-line workers, wearing of masks, maintaining proper hygiene, and respecting lockdown provisions.
The Prime Minister also highlighted how popularising cleanliness and hygiene through the Swachh Bharat Mission, drawing upon India’s Ayurvedic wisdom to enhance people’s immunity, etc – had helped increase the effectiveness of India’s response to the present pandemic.
The Prime Minister appreciated the health related work being done by the Gates Foundation not only in India but also in many other parts of the world, including for coordinating global response to COVID-19. He sought suggestions from Bill Gates on how India’s capacities and capabilities could be better leveraged for the general benefit of the world.
Both of them agreed that given India’s willingness and capacity to contribute to global efforts, particularly for benefit of fellow developing countries, it was important for India to be included in the ongoing global discussions for coordinating responses to the pandemic.
The Prime Minister also suggested that the Gates Foundation could take the lead in analyzing the necessary changes in lifestyles, economic organisation, social behaviour, modes of disseminating education and healthcare, that would emerge in the post-COVID world. PM Modi said that India would be happy to contribute to such an analytical exercise, based on its own experiences.