NEW DELHI: The COVID-19 pandemic has presented governments all over the world with challenges but India with its size, diverse population and an estimated 25-million-strong Indian community abroad, has faced a stricter test than many other nations in ensuring a cohesive and united response to the “invisible enemy.” In an interview with StratNews Global Editor-in-chief Nitin Gokhale, Hardeep Singh Puri Minister of State for Civil Aviation explains that though India’s decision to impose an early lockdown has ensured that it has fared better than other countries, there was always a realisation that the government would have to devise a plan to cater to Indians stranded abroad. This has resulted in a phased exercise by the Civil Aviation Ministry to bring back Indian nationals beginning May 7. Puri indicated that all domestic and international flights will remain closed for now, but he expects India’s aviation industry to bounce back faster and stronger than other markets due to the strong domestic demand and the fact that India is the third-largest aviation market in the world. As Minister of State for Commerce, Singh expects the Indian economy to get back on track with the government having slowly opened up essential sectors such as agriculture and construction; the issue of migrant labour remains his biggest challenge. He believes the confidence being shown by the people in the government’s measures so far is an encouraging sign and bodes well for the return of migrant labourers as the economy bounces back. This confidence shown by the people of India has been echoed on the world stage with other countries looking to India and learning lessons on how it has handled the pandemic. By showcasing calmness and inner strength the minister says that a “stronger, more confident and self-reliant” India will emerge which will definitely impact its “positioning on the world stage” post the pandemic. #India #Civilaviation #Evacuation
Nitin A. Gokhale
Film buff. Sports enthusiast. Keen observer of life. Writes for a living; analyses defence and foreign policy as a professional. 37 years in journalism: from print to broadcast and from web to social media, have had the opportunity to dabble across mediums. Love to experiment with startups. That’s me, Nitin Anant Gokhale.