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MEA lists Vande Bharat mission, COVID medical supplies to 154 countries among key achievements


New Delhi, May 30: The Ministry of External Affairs on Saturday said more than 40,000 Indians returned to India in over 230 flights and naval ships and COVID- related medical supplies were provided to over 154 countries, as it highlighted its achievements in the first year of Modi government 2.0.

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Mammoth coordinating efforts were led by India's High Commissions and Embassies across the world under the Vande Bharat Mission, an MEA document said.

More than 40,000 Indians have returned to the country in over 230 flights and naval ships, it said. COVID-related medical supply was made to over 154 countries and Rapid Response Teams around the world were deployed, the MEA said.

In the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, the MEA also set up a COVID-19 control room manned 24x7 to facilitate emergency requests from stranded Indians.

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As part of the "corona-era" diplomacy, Prime Minister Narendra Modi held a video conference with SAARC leaders and a COVID-19 Emergency Fund was created, the document said.

Over 100 virtual diplomatic meetings were held to share perspectives on combating the virus and tackling post-pandemic challenges, it said.

E-ITEC courses on Covid-healthcare are being offered under MEA’s Development Partnership initiative for partner countries, the document said. As part of India's 'Neighbourhood First' policy, the prime minister visited Bhutan, Maldives and Sri Lanka.

Visits from leaders of Bhutan, Nepal, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, Myanmar and Mauritius took place in the last year. The document also highlighted elevation of ties with the US and the "immensely successful visits of PM Modi and President Trump, of which - 'Howdy, Modi!' and 'Namaste Trump'- were the highlights".

It said new dimensions of defence cooperation and space partnership with Russia also emerged.

The prime minister visited Russia in September 2019 and a USD 1 billion credit line was announced by Modi for development of Russian Far East, the document said.

It also highlighted the 'China Connect' as the prime minister and President Xi Jinping held their second Informal Summit in Mamallapuram in October 2019.

The MEA underlined India's European connect as President Kovind paid visits to Iceland, Switzerland and Slovenia while Vice President M Venkaiah Naidu visited the Baltic countries last year.

Official visits by External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar to 10 European countries, state visits by the King and Queen of the Netherlands, the King and Queen of Sweden, German Chancellor and Portuguese President and PM, were also highlighted.

The MEA said India for the first time participated in Europe-based forums – Mediterranean Dialogue and Munich Security Conference. First India-Japan '2+2' (Foreign and Defence Ministerial Dialogue) was held and President Kovind visited Japan in October last year, the MEA said.

The document also highlighted that the PM was awarded the highest civilian awards in UAE and Bahrain. The inaugural Trilateral Maritime Exercise between India, Singapore & Thailand (SITMEX) was also held.

Stepping up relations with Latin America & Caribbean, the Brazilian President was invited as Chief Guest at Republic Day 2020. The first ever India-CARICOM Leaders’ meet led by the prime minister in September, 2019, the MEA document said.

First ever India- Pacific Islands Developing States Summit was held during which the prime minister announced grant support for high impact developmental projects.

The MEA also highlighted launch of African projects such as e-VidyaBharti (Tele-education) and e-ArogyaBharti (Tele-medicine) network, and the inauguration Mahatma Gandhi International Convention Centre in Niger and the Gandhi-Mandela Skills Institute in South Africa.

New Indian Embassies were opened in Eswatini, Cameroon, Equatorial Guinea and Republic of Congo, the document said. Highlighting the 'India Way' at the UN, the prime minister led the Indian delegation at the UNGA.

He also participated in the Climate Action Summit and a special event commemorating 150 years of Mahatma Gandhi. Coalition for Disaster Resilient Infrastructure (CDRI) was launched at the UN.

Prime Minister Modi also led India’s participation at the G20 Summit, Shanghai Cooperation Organisation, G7 Summit Outreach Sessions, BRICS Summit and ASEAN-related Summits in the last year, according to the MEA document.

A new specialised division in the Ministry for restoration and conservation projects of ancient cultural and heritage monuments was created, the document said.

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