India on Thursday called on governments around the world to ensure that the interests of foreign students are protected and movement of stranded seafarers back to their home countries is facilitated in view of the coronavirus pandemic.

In an address at a meeting of G20 foreign ministers, External Affairs Minister (EAM) S Jaishankar also proposed developing protocols for the movement of people and quarantine procedures by the grouping.

The G20 Foreign Ministers’ Extraordinary Meeting was convened by the current G20 Chair, the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. Minister of Foreign Affairs of Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, Prince Faisal Bin Farhan Al-Saud, chaired the meeting. Jaishankar represented India.

“The discussions centred on strengthening international cooperation across borders in the wake of COVID-19 crisis. The Ministers also exchanged national experiences and lessons learned from the cross-border management measures taken in response to the COVID-19 pandemics,” an official MEA statement read.

In his address, Jaishankar stressed on the need to facilitate more cross-border movement of people. It said he also proposed the development of voluntary ‘G20 Principles on Coordinated Cross-Border Movement of People’ with three elements. The elements suggested by Jaishankar are standardisation of testing procedures and universal acceptability of test results, standardisation of quarantine procedures and standardisation of movement and transit protocols.

The statement further read, “EAM also proposed development of voluntary ‘G20 Principles on Coordinated Cross-Border Movement of People’ with three elements: a) Standardisation of testing procedures and universal acceptability of test results; b) Standardisation of ‘Quarantine procedures’; c) Standardisation of ‘movement and transit’ protocols.”

In his remarks, the external affairs minister commended Saudi Arabia for its proactive approach in bringing G20 countries together for dealing with the COVID-19 pandemic.

“The external affairs minister highlighted the steps taken by India in the wake of the pandemic,” said the MEA. He also apprised the G20 foreign ministers about the steps taken by India including the ‘Vande Bharat Mission’ and creation of ‘travel bubbles’ for the welfare and protection of foreign citizens stranded in India as well as its own citizens abroad.





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