At a time when the world is trying to come together and battle the deadly disease collectively, a “racist and hateful” comment by Jim O’Neill, the chair of British think tank Chatham House targeting India has shaken social networking platforms with reactions and comments.
According to media reports, in an interview on international television O’Neill expressed appreciation for the Chinese government for being so “quick and aggressive” in their response towards tackling the coronavirus menace. Following that statement the British think tank expert “thanked god” that the virus did not erupt from “somewhere like India”.
“Thank God this didn’t start in somewhere like India, because there’s absolutely no way that the quality of Indian governance could move to react in the way that the Chinese have done, that’s the good side of the Chinese model", O’Neill was quoted as saying.
Since the eruption of the coronavirus, India has not only helped its own nationals but also citizens of other nations.
In February, India very swiftly sent its national carrier Air India to China two times to bring back over 640 Indians who were stuck in the country.
The country also carried out an Indian Air Force flight to the epicentre of the outbreak, China's Wuhan, and rescued 36 foreigners along with 76 Indian nationals.
Those rescued by India include people from Bangladesh, Myanmar, South Africa, the US, and Madagascar.
The Foreign Minister of Maldives, Abdulla Shahid later thanked the Indian government and Prime Minister Narendra Modi for helping its citizens escape China in time.
7 Maldivians in #Wuhan are on their way to Delhi on a special #AirIndia flight. Upon arrival they will be housed in Delhi for a period of quarantine. Deep gratitude to PM @narendramodi and EM @DrSJaishankar. Special thanks to Ambassadors @VikramMisri @sunjaysudhir and their teams— Abdulla Shahid (@abdulla_shahid) February 2, 2020
In addition, India also extended a helping hand to China in terms of supplying urgent medical aid. On 2 February, India's federal Health Minister, Dr Harsh Vardhan announced that New Delhi was also ready to send medical equipment, medicine or any other material to aid China in combating the virus as a goodwill gesture.
At present, India is treating and taking care of 16 Italian tourists who not only tested positive for the coronavirus, but also tottered around the country spreading the disease. Prior to this, the country only had three cases of the virus, in the state of Kerala, all of whom have since recovered.
Despite the Indian government’s efficient work in a tense virus-ridden global situation, the capability of the country is being subjected to offensive, condescending, and racist sarcasm.
O’Neill’s comment did not go down well with Twitterati who are now schooling the Englishman on moral values and facts.
No it didn't start in India. And neither HIV, Ebola & other viruses.— Parveen Kaswan, IFS (@ParveenKaswan) March 12, 2020
Had they been here first we would have dealt with them like a disaster. Not wasted our time in covering up. Today also we are doing so & rescuing out citizens from all over world. Racist & hateful comment !! https://t.co/NEuT5staOj
Why drag India into it? So far at least, we have managed this better than many others...... And we did not create this crisis in the first place. https://t.co/x9tqGh6ZG5— Sanjeev Sanyal (@sanjeevsanyal) March 11, 2020
This is a racist, misguided, and completely undeserved insult. India took quick and decisive action and has only a few dozen cases. https://t.co/0s14yXxZAF— Mariellen Ward (@Breathedreamgo) March 11, 2020
Jim O'Neill, the chair of U.K. think tank Chatham House, loses the complete credibility with this statement— LearnLifeWealthTravel (@AnyBodyCanFly) March 11, 2020
Saying something just for the sake of it.
Now everybody know one more time, whom India need to stay safe of. Enemy once is always an enemy. India needs an apology. https://t.co/QHLyd4ux7o
Some #JimO’Neill person from some British 'think tank' is glad Coronavirus started from China and not India because China's response was "quick and aggressive".— Radhika Parashar (@radhika_says) March 12, 2020
We have never broken loose a damning epidemic in the world -- EVER.. @ChathamHouse -- tell your bitch. https://t.co/5GXQYPypHA
This is such unadulterated bull***t— Tina Sharma Tiwari (@TinaSharmaT) March 11, 2020
Trouble started in unchecked Chinese markets, truth was kept hidden from the world for more than a month. Total botch up. And this guy says 'Well, done China, thank God this didn't start in India': https://t.co/HOTCg84pac
Some 60 positive cases of the coronavirus have been reported in India, with no reported deaths. In a bid to quartine the country, India has suspended previously-issued tourist visas until 15 April.
All visas except “diplomatic, official, UN/International Organisations, employment, project visas” have been suspended for now on visa-free travel card holders as well.