‘Will not close the door on others, equitable access to vaccines critically important’
New Delhi: India on Tuesday declared that it will not close the door on others and called for building a Global Fairness Coalition to ensure equity and access to vaccines for all to beat the coronavirus pandemic.
“Equitable access (to vaccines) is critically important in this (fight against the pandemic),” External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar said at the Raisina Dialogue, the government’s flagship conference on geopolitics and geoecomics, that began on virtual platform in the capital.
He said that in diplomacy today, doing good is being smart and India’s Vaccine Maitri policy reflected the larger outlook of Vaisudhaiva Kutumbakam (world is one family).
India has supplied COVID-19 vaccines to 80 odd countries since January.
Jaishankar said India’s ability to manufacture a range of Covid-19 vaccines as an example of global cooperation and said this couldn’t be seen as a “one-way street”.
“Those who question international cooperation, I want people to understand that our ability to make vaccines is a result of international cooperation. International cooperation is not a one-way street where we give to others, somewhere short changing ourselves,” he added.
Jaishankar stressed that India must and will rise as an “enlightened power” and it “will not close the door on others.”
India and South Africa have proposed a temporary waiver of intellectual property (IP) rules related to COVID-19 vaccines at the World Trade Organisation so that drugmakers in poor countries can start production of effective vaccines sooner.
The EAM said post- COVID resilience requires additional engines of growth. He said equitable distribution of Covid-19 vaccines can be done with the creation of additional manufacturing capabilities in countries such as India. Without that, “distributive justice by itself will not be adequate.”
Jaishankar also called for greater cooperation among developing countries saying that South-South cooperation should be converted to “practical initiatives.”
“The New India will step forward and do its part,” he stressed.