Most recently Chikitsa was featured in the news for its COVID-19 Emergency Response programme. With the support of the Embassy of South Korea, New Delhi donated 25,000 K94 masks to Chikitsa which enabled us and other frontline health workers to continue providing community based primary health care safely during the pandemic.
In a touching gesture, symbolically reciprocating the support Korea had received from India seven decades ago, the Ambassador of the Republic of Korea to India, H.E. Dr Shin Bong-kil, presented 25,000 N-95 equivalent face masks to the NGO Chikitsa and the Korean War Veterans Association at a function in Gurugram.
On June 3, former Indian Ambassador Ajai Malhotra, Chairman and Managing Trustee of Chikitsa, warmly welcomed Ambassaador Shin Bong-kil, Defence Attache Col Lee In, and other Korean Embassy officials at Chikitsa’s primary health care clinic at Sector 40 Gurugram. He recalled that Chikitsa had itself been founded two decades ago by an Indian Army veteran – former Chief of Army Staff, General O.P. Malhotra PVSM. It had several Indian Army veterans on its staff and provided free consultations and medicines at its primary healthcare clinics in Gurugram and New Delhi.
Presenting 20,000 masks to Chikitsa and 5,000 masks to the Korean War Veterans Association, Ambassador Shin expressed the hope that the face masks will be of help, adding that the gift was meant to meaningfully convey gratitude and respect to veterans of the Korean War during the 70th anniversary year of its outbreak and to others involved in humanitarian work in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic.
“We value and deeply appreciate this gift of face masks. It is a fine expression of solidarity and goodwill towards India, reflective of our desire to work together to overcome the COVID-19 crisis. It represents a vital contribution in these times when wearing masks is an important preventive measure to tackle the pandemic. I sincerely thank Ambassador Shin and through him the Korean veterans and the people of the Republic of Korea for this generous and very timely gift”, Ajai Malhotra responded.
It may be recalled that the deployment of 60 Para Field Ambulance Unit, following the invasion of the Republic of Korea by North Korea in 1950, marked the first time an Indian Army unit participated in UN Peacekeeping Operations. The “Maroon Angels”, as the Unit came to be fondly known, served in Korea for four years and provided valuable medical support to the UN Command, the ROK Army and civilians. India has since emerged as the largest contributor to UN Peacekeeping efforts, cumulatively providing 251,000 Indian troops for 49 UN missions. The setting up of a Korean War Memorial in Delhi Cantonment is also presently well under way.
Dr. Akshay Sur participated in the June 3 ceremony on behalf of the Korean War Veterans Association. Others present were Lt. General J.K. Sharma AVSM (Retd), a Chikitsa supporter, Colonel RS Malik (Retd), Chief Operating Officer of Chikitsa, and Mr. Udai Malhotra, Chikitsa Trustee and coordinator of its humanitarian efforts.