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India ready to make over 5 billion Covid vaccine doses by end of next year: PM Modi

WHO’s approval for Covaxin vaccine will facilitate the process to help other countries, PM Modi says

Written by Shubhajit Roy | New Delhi |
Updated: October 31, 2021 2:46:54 am
India's Prime Minister Narendra Modi arrives for the G20 leaders summit in Rome, Italy. (Reuters)

Underlining the need to address vaccine inequity across the world, especially in developing countries, Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Saturday told G-20 leaders that India is ready to produce over 5 billion vaccine doses by the end of next year.

Speaking at the first session on global economy and global health, he also used the opportunity to convey that the early emergency approval to Covaxin by WHO will facilitate India’s efforts to help other countries.

Briefing reporters on Modi’s intervention at the closed-door session, Foreign Secretary Harsh Vardhan Shringla said, “The PM conveyed that India has not only vaccinated over a billion of its citizens but more important is that we are ready to produce over 5 billion vaccine doses by end of next year.”

This, Shringla said while quoting Modi, “obviously will be available not only for our citizens (but for) the rest of the world, and this is our own contribution to reducing…vaccine inequities, especially in the developing world”.

He said, “We also believe that WHO’s approval, the emergency use authorization, for Covaxin vaccine pending with them would facilitate this process of our assisting other countries.”

Shringla said Modi emphasised on vaccine research, manufacturing and innovation. The Prime Minister, he said, spoke about facilitating international travel and spoke about the mechanism of mutual recognition of vaccine certification as a means of achieving this.

Modi also highlighted India’s contribution in the fight against Covid-19. In this regard, he mentioned India’s medical supply to over 150 countries. He spoke about India’s vision of “One Earth One Health”, or the need for a collaborative approach in the international domain in the fight against the pandemic. He said the concept of “One Earth One Health” has been received well by the G-20 countries.

“This is very, very important to the international community and we are looking for comprehensive global solution that can address issues that also deal with problems of inequity, problems that developing countries countries face and this is again, another approach towards the overall concept of the global common good that the Prime Minister has spoken of a number of occasions,” he said.

The Prime Minister stressed on the need for resilient global supply chains and invited G-20 countries to make India their partner in economic recovery and supply chain diversification.

In this context, Modi will attend a side event on global supply chains on Sunday, for which he has been invited by US President Joe Biden, Shringla said. He said that “in some senses, the Prime Minister also brought out the fact that despite challenges of the pandemic, India continues to be a trusted partner in the context of reliable supply chains.”

Modi also expressed “satisfaction” over the G-20’s decision to come up with a 15-per cent minimum corporate tax to make the global financial architecture “more just and fair”. Shringla said, “You are aware of the 15 per cent minimum corporate tax which ensures that companies don’t go to the lowest possible tax haven in order to minimise their tax burden, and that the large multinational corporations pay their share of taxes to countries that they are located in.”

The G-20 leaders endorsed a landmark global agreement on Saturday that seeks to block large corporations from shifting profits and jobs across borders to avoid taxes.

The announcement in the opening session of the G-20 summit is an initiative to stop companies from sheltering profits in tax havens, where tax rates are low and corporations often maintain little physical presence beyond an official headquarters.

The Foreign Secretary said it was in 2014 G-20 summit in Brisbane that the Prime Minister had first proposed this idea of a minimum corporate tax in order to prevent, to some extent. “I think this is a very important step in ensuring more rationalised global tax structures and better cooperation in the international domain when it comes to issues like tax evasion, money laundering, corruption,” Shringla said.

Modi also held two bilateral meetings with French President Emmanuel Macron and Singapore Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong.

In his meeting with Macron, Shringla said the Prime Minister welcomed the European Union’s Indo-Pacific strategy, and thanked the French President for his leadership role in developing the strategy. “The two leaders reaffirmed their commitment to cooperate in the Indo-Pacific, to find new and innovative ways to to cooperate to further the objective of free, open and inclusive, rules-based order in the region,” he said.

There was also discussion on the forthcoming COP26 in Glasgow and climate change-related issues and the need to focus on climate finance. The Prime Minister invited President Macron to visit India at an early opportunity, Shringla said.

“AUKUS came up tangentially during the meeting, but there was no discussion on Quad,” he said.

Modi’s meeting with the Singapore PM, Shringla said, was their first in-person meeting in the post-pandemic period.

The MEA statement said both leaders discussed global efforts to combat climate change and the forthcoming COP26. “They also discussed ongoing efforts to contain the Covid-19 pandemic through expedited vaccination efforts and ensuring supply of critical medicines. In this context, Modi appreciated Singapore’s outreach to provide Covid assistance to India during the second wave. Lee congratulated the Prime Minister for the rapid vaccination drive in India,” the statement said

They also discussed ways to enhance people-to-people ties, including early normalisation of movement between the two countries, the MEA stated.

On Sunday, besides attending the side event on Global Summit on Supply Chain Resilience, for which Modi has been invited by US President Biden, the Prime Minister will attend a G-20 session on climate change and environment, and another session on sustainable development.

He is also likely to meet Prime Minister of Spain Pedro Sanchez on Sunday.

Modi leaves for the COP26 summit in Glasgow on Sunday.

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