New Delhi, Nov. 16 (UNI) External Affairs Minister Dr S. Jaishankar on Monday said India is at the heart of international and multilateral collaborations in evolving reliable vaccines to contain the Covid 19 virus.
Delivering keynote address at the Deccan Dialogue, Dr Jaishankar pointed out that Prime Minister Narendra Modi has committed to the United Nations that India will help make vaccines accessible and affordable to all. “And believe me, from the regular conversations that I have with so many counterparts, the world is counting on us to do so,’’ he said.
Recalling India’s efforts in helping to check the spread of the deadly Corona virus, the Minister said that as demands for medicines – especially Hydroxychloroquine and Paracetamol – spiked, the country stepped up production and supplied 150 countries, more than half at its own cost.
“Today, the focus has shifted to rapid testing and reliable vaccines, both essential for a return to travel normalcy. And we are at the heart of international and multilateral collaborations in this regard,’’ he told the participants at the third edition of the Deccan Dialogue being held at Hyderabad.
“There are many lessons from the Covid experience that we will all be reflecting on in the coming times. The immediate focus is on economic recovery and the figures for September-October have really been encouraging. There is also a greater awareness globally about more resilient supply chains. It is up to us to exploit this sentiment for additional engines of growth by creating better conditions for production. The recent announcement of production-linked incentives for various sectors is significant in that regard,’’ he said.
Domestically, Dr Jaishankar said, there is a clear realization of the need to embark on the next generation of reforms that addresses challenges which were neglected by a narrower vision.
“The changes we have seen in regard to agriculture, labour and education are notable examples. If there is a big takeaway, it is in the power of digitization, one that could come into play thanks to the achievements of the last six years. We saw that not only in contact tracing but in providing resources and supplies on an unprecedented scale to the most needy during the Corona period. But from my perspective as Foreign Minister, what this crisis really brought out was the importance of international cooperation,’’ he said.
Referring to the Vande Bharat Mission, the Minister said that it would not have been possible if multiple Governments had not standardized procedures, whether on testing, on quarantine, on movement or on transit protocols. “Many – especially in the Gulf – went out of the way to expend their own resources for the welfare of foreigners. And India has reciprocated in full measure. More than one lakh foreign residents were assisted to go back to their home in these difficult times,’’ he pointed out.
Coming to globalized and inter-dependent world, Dr Jaishankar said that each nation has the ability to assess its interests, frame its policies and modulate its engagement.
“But there are the more existential aspects of globalization as well, one where the elements of choice are much less. The three most vivid examples of them today are climate change, terrorism and pandemics. None of them are a choice of an impacted society, yet all of them – as we are currently experiencing – affect us profoundly,’’ he said.
Pointing out that today’s India is far more international than the one before, he said that its embrace of the world has been strongly facilitated by the technologies of the digital era. The globe is not just a marketplace or even a workplace; it is today a source of ideas, inspiration and aspirations, he told the gathering.