The BJP has taken strong objection to Chatham House chairman's deprecating remarks about India's healthcare in view of the ongoing coronavirus pandemic which originated in China.
Jim O'Neill, chairman of Chatham House, a London-based international organisation that analyses global affairs, during a discussion on CNBC TV channel had scornfully said, "Thank god this (coronavirus pandemic) didn't start in somewhere like India.."
BJP in-charge of foreign affairs, Vijay Chauthaiwale, in a letter written to O'Neill said the statement "criticising the quality of the Indian governance in dealing with the coronavirus outbreak" showed his "sheer ignorance towards the Indian healthcare system."
While appreciating the efforts by the Chinese government in its response to the coronavirus outbreak, Chauthaiwale said Prime Minister Narendra Modi too has extended all his support to China to fight the disease.
"At the same time, measures taken by the Indian government to prevent the spread of the pandemic in India cannot be overlooked," he wrote.
This is true. I landed at Delhi Airport last night, which was remarkably well prepared and a sharp relief from Dubai and JFK where i was arriving from... @HardeepSPuri @DrSJaishankar @drharshvardhan @PMOIndia #COVID19 https://t.co/RPDWZGjUZ3— Samir Saran (@samirsaran) March 12, 2020
India was one of the few countries which responded immediately to the outbreak by evacuating around 650 Indian nationals and some foreign nationals from Wuhan, the epicenter of the epidemic. The government suspended air travel to China and quarantined the evacuated individuals for 14 days. Besides, several other stringent measures were taken to test individuals for the infection and contain the epidemic.
The BJP officebearer said that he strongly deplored the remarks made by O'Neill "underestimating the proactive efforts and efficiency of the Indian government in countering the coronavirus outbreak and evacuating the Indian citizens from the affected areas of the world."
Taking an indirect dig at China's authoritarianism, Chauthaiwale reminded O'Neill that "democracy and the free flow of information" could have helped in "such unfortunate eventualities. Transparency, public trust and government accountability ensures effective response to such critical situations," he wrote in the letter.
The BJP official hoped that O'Neill will "re-evaluate the Indian health system and its response with an open mind."