Foreign Secretary Harsh Shringla speaking at WHO's
Foreign Secretary Harsh Shringla speaking at WHO's "South-East Asia Regional Health Partners' Forum on COVID-19" (Source: Arindam Bagchi/Twitter)

India at WHO reiterates promise to create global scale capacities to face pandemic challenges

ANI | Updated: Jun 03, 2021 15:06 IST


New Delhi [India], June 3 (ANI): Foreign Secretary Harsh Shringla on Thursday reiterated that India will participate in the process of creating global scale capacities that are needed to deal with pandemic challenges and vowed to participate fully in the international process of regeneration through building newer and more resilient supply chains.
Speaking at a World Health Organization's (WHO) forum, Shringla said: "We had to create, literally overnight, new capacities to try and cope with a Black Swan event. We have had to innovate, to repurpose and to re-engineer and create an entirely new vertical for pandemic diplomacy."
"Going forward, we will participate in the process of creating global scale capacities that are needed to deal with pandemic scale challenges. A number of serious global conversations are underway on this in platforms such as the G7, the G20, QUAD, BRICS, the United Nations and the WHO itself," he added.
Highlighting initiatives taken by India to curb the COVID-19 pandemic, Shringla said the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) had acted as the global arm of the Government of India's Empowered Group, to procure essential raw materials and medical supplies for COVID-19.
"We have, throughout the pandemic, identified and connected with potential suppliers of essential medicines, raw materials and medical equipment across the world... We were also part of the effort to source medical products, machinery, and components that were vital for enhancing our domestic manufacturing capabilities such as components for ventilators, testing inputs such as RNA Extraction Kits, Roche Cobas testing machines, etc," the Foreign Secretary said.
He also said India is a part of the discussions with major vaccine manufacturers like Pfizer, Johnson & Johnson, and Moderna about sourcing and possible local manufacturing of their vaccines in India.
"We have adapted rapidly to virtual diplomacy during the pandemic period. The Prime Minister has conducted over 12 virtual summits and more than 75 virtual bilaterals. External Affairs Minister and the Ministry have conducted literally hundreds of ministerials, joint commissions, multilateral engagements, Foreign Office Consultations, Senior Officials Meetings, etc," he further said.
Pointing out that India is working with several other countries in the World Trade Organization (WTO) on a targeted and temporary waiver under TRIPS to ensure timely and secure access to vaccines for all, Shringla also mentioned that the country is looking forward to the WHO's approval for India's indigenous Covaxin vaccine manufactured by Bharat Biotech.
"We will participate fully in the international process of regeneration through building newer and more resilient supply chains, by focusing on newer technologies and knowledge-driven opportunities and leveraging India's strengths and capacities," he said.
The Foreign Secretary also emphasised on a response to the COVID-19 challenge at multiple levels, adding that it requires all to source solutions and capacities on a global basis. He also lauded WHO's role as one of the key constituents in a global array of players dealing with the pandemic. (ANI)

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