India faced twin challenges of Covid, border aggression: Envoy in China

PTI, Aug 15, 2020, 4:37 PM IST

Beijing: Indian Ambassador to China Vikram Misri on Saturday said that 2020 has been a very unusual year for India as it had to face the “twin challenges” of COVID-19 as well as aggression on the country’s borders.

Addressing a large gathering of Beijing-based Indian community at the India House on the country’s 74th Independence Day, Misri talked about the problems faced by the Indian expatriates in China. Many family members of the expatriates are stranded in India due to visa-related issues following the COVD-19 pandemic and disruption of flights.

After hoisting the national flag and reading of President Ram Nath Kovind’s address to the nation, Misri touched upon the “aggression at the borders,” in an apparent reference to the situation at the Sino-Indian borders in eastern Ladakh.

“As you just heard from the President’s address, 2020 has been a very unusual year, including for us here in China. We in India have had to face the twin challenges of COVID-19 as well as aggression on our borders,” Misri said.

“I find that the situation today that faces us, all of us Indians, is not dissimilar to the one that we faced during our struggle for independence.

“It is axiomatic therefore that the effort that will be required now by us to overcome the challenges that lie before us is not unlike what our nation and our people and compatriots deployed during the struggle for independence,” he said.

The same sacrifices too will be required. This is a challenge therefore that one can only face unitedly. All sections of society will need to come together for this, he said.

The country has already begun facing up to this challenge, he said.

Despite being preoccupied with facing up to the epidemic, the government has not taken its foot off the accelerator in terms of reforms and the last seven months have actually seen a slew of very important reforms in the fields of education, taxation, labour, agriculture and other associated fields, he said.

“This reform movement and its spirit, I am confident, will help our country overcome present challenges,” Misri said.

Touching upon the problems faced by Indian expatriates in China, he offered to help them in whatever possible way.

“For us here in China, things have changed also in imperceptible ways and I am sure in certain cases the changes are impacting your daily life,” the envoy said.

He said the Indian Embassy and various consulates in the country are ready to help the Indian community. “Any difficulties and problems you have, we are there to help you find solutions to the extent possible in current circumstances,” he said.

“The government of China itself is undergoing a time when it is deploying different policies in order to respond to the evolving situation. We have to adjust ourselves to those policies and do the best by our citizens,” he said.

“In this moment, many of you are also dealing with pressures of business and with separation of families, with loved ones stranded in India. This is a phase that we have to get over in united fashion. My message to you is – stay strong, stay safe. We are there for you”, Misri said.

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