President Moon Jae-in spoke on the phone with Prime Minister of the Republic of India Narendra Modi for 35 minutes from 4:00 p.m. today. Their telephone conversation was arranged at the request of the Prime Minister of India.
President Moon began by expressing sympathy and condolences for the recently growing number of confirmed COVID-19 cases and related deaths in India. He expressed his hope that the strong measures being taken by the Indian Government would help bring the COVID-19 outbreak under control rapidly.
Moreover, President Moon said that he has high regard for Prime Minister Modi, given that he is leading solidarity and cooperation not only in India but also among countries in South Asia.
In reply, Prime Minister Modi explained the countermeasures that India is taking domestically against the COVID-19 outbreak. He went on to say that he is aware of how well Korea is managing the crisis in the face of the COVID-19 outbreak and how much the county’s science- and technology-based responses are being lauded worldwide.
President Moon said, “At the extraordinary virtual G20 Leaders’ Summit, the Prime Minister said that people should be given top priority in the efforts to overcome the COVID-19 crisis and that the benefits of medical R&D should be shared freely. I entirely agree with that opinion.”
Prime Minister Modi said that the world will change after the COVID-19 outbreak just like the world changed after World War II. He added that people should be at the center of every policy and strategy going forward.
President Moon said, “I hope that the businesspeople of our two countries will be permitted to enter each other’s country for urgent visits so that essential exchanges and cooperation can continue with India, a key partner in our New Southern Policy.” The President expressed his gratitude to the Prime Minister for having helped arrange chartered flights to bring Korean residents in India back home safely and asked for continued cooperation.
Prime Minister Modi said that he understands President Moon’s concerns about Korean nationals and added that he will always cooperate to ensure their safe return.
President Moon said that he knows that a certain number of diagnostic kits have already been delivered to India through cooperation between the two countries’ businesses. The President added that Korea will continue to share its quarantine and treatment experiences and clinical data with India. He also said that Korea will give positive consideration to providing more help should there be additional requests for cooperation from India, including diagnostic kits.
Moreover, President Moon said, “I was told that all Indians turned off their lights and lit candles for 9 minutes at 9 p.m. last Sunday, April 5, in order to gather the will to surmount COVID-19, following the Prime Minister’s proposal to conquer the darkness of the virus.” The President suggested that the two countries should further advance their special strategic partnership by wisely overcoming the COVID-19 outbreak together, and Prime Minister Modi expressed agreement.
Nine is the favorite number of many Indians.