India has moved to a national quarantine: since March 25, a three-week total isolation regime has been decreed in the country, prohibiting citizens from leaving their homes. Prime Minister Narendra Modi motivated the introduction of such severe measures in a country of over a billion people as follows: in the context of the coronavirus pandemic, there is no other way to ” save India”. The Indian Prime Minister’s address to the nation was delivered on Tuesday evening. And less than a day later, Narendra Modi called Vladimir Putin and, on the eve of the emergency G20 summit scheduled for March 26, agreed with the Russian president on a consolidated position on the fight common against the coronavirus.
Unprecedented in independent India’s history, measures to restrict social contact and freedom of movement in the ‘world’s largest democracy’ were announced by Prime Minister Narendra Modi in his second speech on Tuesday evening. to the nation in recent days.
“In order to save India, to save her, every citizen, you, your families, every street, every neighborhood must be closed. Leaving homes will be totally prohibited,” the Indian leader said, calling the new routine, which will be in effect in India for three weeks from midnight on March 25, a “curfew”.
In his address, Narendra Modi acknowledged that self-isolation is extremely painful, but necessary and the only possible measure, since there is no vaccine against the coronavirus.
“Our economy will suffer damage, but everyone must understand their responsibility. If in the next 21 days we do not behave as the situation demands, our country will be sent back 21 years,” Modi warned. “Stay where you are now!” he warned his fellow citizens.
The statistics of the coronavirus pandemic in India do not yet look as worrying as in some countries in Europe and Asia: as of Wednesday, 606 cases of infection have been registered in a country which has 1.3 billion people, 10 people died. For comparison: in neighboring Pakistan, whose population is just over 200 million, six times less than in India, the number of infected people is twice as high – about a thousand. At the same time, the harsh measures introduced in Pakistan were not as drastic as in India.
“The small number of cases in India should not mislead anyone. The main task now is to break the chain of propagation of the coronavirus in time, and this is the objective pursued by the unprecedentedly tough measures of the authorities. Considering the vast territory of India, its huge population and the state of the health system, which is not yet ready to face the extreme conditions of a pandemic, the task of crisis management at l he national scale is infinitely more difficult than in many other countries. Hundreds of millions of people are in danger. Nevertheless, today the Modi government is keeping the situation under control,” commented Kommersant on the introduction of a nationwide quarantine in India, an expert from the Vivekananda International Foundation, a former Deputy Commander-in-Chief of the Indian Army and Director military intelligence, Lt. Gen. Ravi. Sahni.
In the words of Lt. Gen. Sahni, “despite the considerable cost that the Indian economy will have to pay, the government’s measures have met with full support in the country, silencing the most implacable opponents of Narendra Modi”.
“The Indian authorities have been forced to be proactive, given that hundreds of millions of people are at risk, and the health system in India is still not the best in the world, we have far fewer hospital beds. hospitals per capita than in Italy and the United States. states. If the spread of the disease is not stopped, the situation can quickly spiral out of control. However, the announced three-week quarantine is not just a passive waiting period. The authorities need to buy time to better prepare for an adverse scenario: increase the production of ventilators and build additional hospitals that can accommodate patients,” continues Nandan Unnikrishnan, vice president of the Observer Research Foundation.
“Someone can say that the economy will suffer from the measures introduced, but it is extremely difficult to find their optimal balance in the current extreme situation. At the same time, it should be noted that even before Prime Minister Modi’s speech, a number of Indian states, whose governments have sweeping powers, have introduced their own severe restrictions on social contact and travel. So, despite all the unprecedented measures, psychologically the people of India turned out to be ready for them,” Nandan Unnikrishnan told Kommersant.
“The situation of the spread of the coronavirus in India remains extremely serious and raises questions that go far beyond national borders and are linked to globalization. As the world grapples with the coronavirus, it is becoming increasingly clear that some countries that more than others have taken advantage of the opportunities of globalization are now unprepared to take on global responsibility. . Therefore, India wants to change the nature of global cooperation and discuss this issue in the near future in the G20,” Indian Ambassador to Russia Bala Venkatesh Varma told Kommersant.
It is noteworthy that less than a day after his address to the nation, Narendra Modi called Vladimir Putin. “In accordance with the ongoing confidential dialogue, reflecting the special nature of the Russian-Indian strategic partnership, Putin and Modi briefed each other in detail on the measures introduced in the two countries to counter the spread of this infection,” the news service said. of the Kremlin. in a report.