New Delhi [India], April 13 (ANI): External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar has defended and justified India's decision to supply COVID-19 vaccines to other countries, saying that the country's "ability to make vaccines is a result of international cooperation" which is not a "one-way street".
S Jaishankar was speaking at the Raisina Dialogue '21. The statement assumes importance as the Modi government is facing the ire of opposition for supplying the COVID-19 vaccine to foreign countries amid a surge of novel coronavirus cases in the country.
"International cooperation is not a one-way street- where we give to others and short change ourselves, I think people need to understand that," he said.
"If you look in terms of humanitarian assistance, whether it was an earthquake in Nepal, or a civil war in Yemen, or a cyclone in Mozambique, or a typhoon in Fiji, or a mudslide in Sri Lanka, or whether it is taking the Paris agenda forward through initiatives like the International Solar Alliance, or how to respond collectively towards disaster resilience. So, there are very practical ways by which we have demonstrated our belief in the world as a family. And the vaccine is only a recent example. And for those who actually question international cooperation, I want people to also understand this, that our ability to make vaccines, is itself a result of international cooperation," he added.
The minister said India has given vaccines to over 80 countries, that would otherwise not have had access to them.
"For small countries, it is not just the ability to buy, but also the wherewithal to access markets. The big debates around globalisation are 'equity' and 'fairness'", he addedMany states like Maharashtra, Odisha, Jharkhand, Chhattisgarh and Punjab had flagged a shortage of vaccines and are asking for the removal of age restrictions on taking COVID-19 vaccine and for modification of guidelines for vaccination.
India, which is producing Covaxin and Covishield, has also authorized the use of the Russian Sputnik V vaccine against coronavirus.
Jaishankar also said that "those who are truly committed to globalisation will demonstrate through their actions that are equitable, that no one gets left behind.""But the fact is that to the extent that you have margins and the ability and the obligation to help others, I think it's the decent thing to do. As I said, doing good is also doing smart. Now, in our case, our vaccine producers had some contractual commitments, they had commitments to Covax as you know, where we actually helped health workers in a number of African countries, with some of our own neighbours in South Asia, with the CARICOM with the FIPIC," Jaishankar added. (ANI)