A viral message on social media claims that 18 nations, including the United States and the United Kingdom, want Prime Minister Narendra Modi to be the leader of the task force to combat the coronavirus pandemic.
“18 nations including USA and UK want NARENDER MODI as the leader for TASK FORCE for CORONA..what a proud moment for INDIA..believe in him and INDIA will win (sic),” the claim reads.
The message is being widely circulated on Facebook, Twitter and WhatsApp along with a clip of a news bulletin by Wion news channel.
TRUE OR FALSE?
The claim shared along the video is misleading. The WION bulletin, uploaded on 15 March, which is being used to make the claim, has been misquoted. India has not been selected to head a task force to combat the pandemic.
WHAT WE FOUND
To check the veracity of the viral message, we first went through the Wion news bulletin uploaded on 15 March, which is being circulated to support the claim.
At the beginning of the bulletin, the anchor can be heard saying, “India has emerged as a global leader and will take charge of the task force to tackle coronavirus. India has accomplished the feat of organising a video conference of 8 nations in just 48 hours.”
The anchor, here, was referring to SAARC nations. How did we know that? The fact that she mentioned “8 nations” was a giveaway.
SAARC (South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation) is the regional intergovernmental organisation and geopolitical union of states in South Asia. Its member states are Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, the Maldives, Nepal, Pakistan and Sri Lanka.
On 15 March, SAARC nations participated in a video conference to chalk out a strategy to fight coronavirus. The meeting came as PM Modi on 13 March took to Twitter to propose the same. Several news reports covered the same.
WHAT DOES THE BULLETIN SAY ABOUT G20 NATIONS?
Further, into the bulletin, the anchor talks about India’s participation in the video conference organised by G20 nations to fight coronavirus where the leaders pledged to inject $5 Trillion in the world economy to counter the impact of COVID-19. This event was also widely covered by the media.
We also found MEA’s press release on the interaction and it did not mention anything about India heading a task force to tackle coronavirus outbreak.
The bulletin also talks about British Prime Minister Boris Johnson and Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison calling for joint efforts to counter the impact of the outbreak.
While India is actively participating in global efforts to mitigate the damage being caused by the coronavirus, the claim that Indian Prime Minister has been chosen to head a global task force on the same is absolutely false.
(We have also reached out to the Ministry of Home Affairs for clarification on this. The story will be updated as and when we receive a response.)
You can read all our fact-checked stories on coronavirus here.
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