Cocking a snook at India’s medical diplomacy in Maldives, the China’s hospital ship ‘Peace Ark’ will be visiting Maldives from Saturday as part of its ‘Mission Harmony 2013’ tour to eight Asian countries, including India.
The 10,000-tonne ultra-modern Chinese vessel is the largest hospital ship with 300 beds and eight operation theatres. The ship is said to be too big to be docked at Male, and hence it is anchored some distance away.
For the first time, China is intruding into the medical aid sector in which the Indian Government has so far had no competition.
Last month, a six-member team of Indian Army doctors travelled to remote Maldivian islands and set up medical camps. But like most government-run Indian medical facilities, the Indian-run Indira Gandhi Medical Hospital also suffered from various maladies like rodent infestation and severe shortage of trained staff.
Maldives National Defence Force, meanwhile, stated that China’s ‘Peace Ark’ will provide better medical facilities than IGMH. Ironically, it will be at IGMH and Senahiya that the Chinese Army’s medical staff will be treating patients.