There were many media reports that government has significantly reduces the number of the visas issued to Pakistani national coming to India to seek medical treatment. If we keep in mind the strained relations between India and Pakistan and prevailing security scenario in the country, this decision is very much, reasonable. When it comes to issue of national security, of course we can set aside our humanitarian duty for the Pakistani nationals.
A relevant question in this scenario is why do Pakistani patients want come to India to seek treatment? Obviously the medical facilities in their country are not that advanced. So those few who can afford to travel to India for treatment, come here. But why don’t they go to Europe or US? The US and Europe offers better treatment facilities that India, but that comes at a very high price tag, most of the people cannot afford.
Another equally relevant question is what do those Pakistani patients do which do not get Indian visa. And what about those who get it for one visit but is delayed or refused for subsequent visits? Understandably, they must not be accepting it as their destiny, and must be exploring other countries as alternatives. Now we come to the main issue. What are these alternatives? In an article by Bart Van den Mooter on health tourism in asia the author paints paints the real scenario “Foreign patients are a major revenue generator for private hospitals in the region. Their share represents 40-55 percent of the private hospitals’ revenue in countries such as Singapore, Malaysia and especially Thailand. In India, medical tourism accounts for 25 percent of revenue, and in the Philippines, South Korea and Taiwan, it accounts for 10-15 percent of revenue.”
One does not need a Phd in economics to figure out what will happen to the share of patients going to countries like Singapore and Malaysia, if we keep refusing visa to those who want to come.
So next time a Pakistani comes to for with a visa application for medical treatment in India, we can either refuse him for security reasons or approve with a smile for economic reasons. Either of the ways, somewhere he will get the treatment for sure.