Dr S Jaishankar at ISB: World is counting on India to help make the COVID-19 vaccine cheap and accessible

For a nation that has no preparedness at all, India has responded exceptionally well at the face of the COVID-19 crisis, said the Minister
Dr S Jaishankar (Pic: PTI)
Dr S Jaishankar (Pic: PTI)

India is at the heart of international and multilateral collaborations and Prime Minister Narendra Modi has assured the United Nations that India will help make the vaccines cheap and accessible, said External Affairs Minister  Dr S Jaishankar while inaugurating Indian School of Business's virtual conclave, Deccan Dialogues: Crisis and Cooperation. A medical emergency might be upon us but that does not mean India can forget the permanent threats of issues like terrorism.

India has responded exceptionally well in the face of the COVID-19 crisis, said the Minister. "This nation that had no preparedness for such an enormous crisis responded in a way that should give us all confidence in our future. We now not only provide for ourselves but deliver to the world, he said and added, "As the demands for medicine, especially hydroxychloroquine and paracetamol spiked we stepped up production and supplied to 150 countries — more than half of it was on our own cost. Today, the focus has shifted to rapid testing and reliable vaccines — both essential for the return to normalcy — and we are at the heart of international and multilateral collaborations. Prime Minister Modi has committed to the United Nations that we will help make vaccines accessible and affordable to all. And believe me, from the regular conversations that I've had with so many counterparts, the world is counting on us," he said.

Like all clouds, COVID-19 too, has a silver lining and we must try to come out of this crisis with a stronger sense of cooperation, said the Minister. "If health security is the immediate challenge the perennial ones cannot be neglected either. In the last few years, India has emerged as the first responder in our immediate vicinity to humanitarian assistance and disaster relief situations. We have been there. Whether it was the Nepal earthquake, Yemen's Civil War, the Mozambique Cyclone the Sri Lanka mudslides or the Fiji typhoon. This is taking our peacekeeping tradition to a completely higher level. Our efforts have contributed to a larger awareness of its different facets. We have shaped the debate on the merits of transparency, market viability, environmental friendliness and respect for territorial integrity. And in many parts of the world — ranging from Africa to the Caribbean to South Pacific — we have helped to strengthen capabilities, offer training and spread best practices. These traits in India's foreign policy outlook will only be stronger in the aftermath of the pandemic," he added.

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