Published By: Saurabh Verma
Last Updated: September 26, 2023, 21:11 IST
New York, United States of America (USA)
India, which provided COVID-19 vaccines to over 100 countries during the pandemic, told the UN General Assembly that an injustice like vaccine apartheid should never again be allowed to recur.
External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar said that India demonstrated this during the Covid pandemic through the Vaccine Maitri initiative under which it supplied the much-needed and life-saving vaccines to over 100 nations around the world at a time when countries were stockpiling vaccine doses for themselves.
We must never again allow an injustice like vaccine apartheid to recur. Climate action too cannot continue to witness an evasion of historical responsibilities.
The power of markets should not be utilized to steer food and energy from the needy to the wealthy, External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar said in his address to the General Debate at the 78th high-level UN General Assembly session Tuesday. Jaishankar underscored that all nations pursue their national interests.
We, in India, have never seen that as being in contradiction with global good. When we aspire to be a leading power, this is not for self-aggrandisement but to take on greater responsibility and make more contributions. The goals we have set for ourselves will make us different from all those whose rise preceded ours.
At a special India-UN for Global South: Delivering for Development’ side event hosted by Jaishankar here Saturday on margins of the 78th session of the UN General Assembly, several leaders of the Global South and small island nations recalled and expressed their gratitude to India for supplying them with COVID19 vaccines when other nations did not come forward to help.
At the event, the Minister for Foreign Affairs, International Business, Trade and Energy of Dominica Dr Vince Henderson said that India is able to share with others in spite of its own challenges. I think the lesson that moves me the most is the COVID-19 pandemic. I had the opportunity to sit in a very important capital of the world. I will not call names, but I remember struggling with seeing how we could get an immediate, urgent response by having access to vaccines…And before we knew it, India was able to respond and provide us with vaccines in Dominica as well as other member states in the Caribbean and the rest of the world. I personally want to thank you, the people and government of India for reaching out to us at a time of such need. I also sort of did a double-take when I heard the expression of vaccine diplomacy’. I wouldn’t call it that. I think it was just extending the hand of humanity. I think there were other countries involved in vaccine diplomacy, not India, Henderson had said to a round of applause from the audience.
Jaishankar further said in the UNGA address that India’s endeavours like the International Solar Alliance and the Coalition for Disaster Resilient Infrastructure have gathered wide support. Our espousing of the International Year of Millets is enhancing global food security today, he said.
India has built development partnerships with 78 nations across geographies. We have also been First Responders in disaster emergency situations. The people of Turkiye saw that in February, as did those in Syria. Our commitment is understandably even greater, closer home. When Sri Lanka experienced a severe economic crisis, it was India that first stepped forward. But even in distant regions, partners such as the Pacific Islands have appreciated our contributions to meet their needs in health, technology and climate action. The most populous nation and the fifth largest economy knows that its progress makes a real difference to the world. Especially so when so many nations identify with us for reasons of history, geography and culture. They follow our experiences closely and evaluate our solutions for their larger relevance, Jaishankar said. As the United Nations assessed progress towards achieving SDGs at the high-level summit last week, Jaishankar said the mood here reflected the struggle to overcome challenges, especially those of resource paucity.
“It is therefore vital at this mid-way, that we expand our capacities and regain our confidence. As the largest contributor to meeting SDG targets, India’s achievements should give heart to others on this journey.
Noting that the Global Multidimensional Poverty Index records that India has lifted 415 million people out of poverty, Jaishankar said that progress has now moved on to a higher level, with ambitious socio-economic initiatives covering financial inclusion, food and nutrition, health and water supply, as well as energy and housing. We are seeking to demonstrate that social welfare need not be the sole prerogative of the developed world. He added that programmes underway in India highlight the transformational role of digital delivery of public goods. It has facilitated scaling up, enhanced efficiency and combated corruption. The national objective of Leaving No One Behind is forging ahead in so many dimensions.
Moreover, the democratisation of technology has opened mindsets, instilled confidence and inspired innovations. As the United Nations hosting the Summit of the Future next year, Jaishankar said this should serve as a serious opportunity to drive change, champion fairness and reform multilateralism, including the expansion of the Security Council memberships. We must address global challenges imbued with the conviction that we are one earth and one family, with one future.
(This story has not been edited by News18 staff and is published from a syndicated news agency feed – PTI)