In his first address to the Non-Aligned Movement (NAM) summit since assuming office in 2014, Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Monday flagged the issues of “terrorism” and “fake news”, calling them “deadly viruses” at a time when the world fights the novel coronavirus.
Modi said they should develop a platform for NAM countries to pool their “experiences, best practices, crisis-management protocols, research, and resources”.
“NAM should call upon the international community and the WHO to focus on building health-capacity in developing countries. We should ensure equitable , affordable and timely access to health products and technologies for all,” he said.
“Even as the world fights COVID-19, some people are busy spreading other deadly viruses. Such as terrorism. Such as fake news, and doctored videos to divide communities and countries,” he said.
This was the first time Modi participated in a NAM summit — he had become the first Indian Prime Minister to skip the NAM summit in 2016 and in 2019 too.
The NAM leaders announced creation of a task force to identify requirements of member countries through a common database reflecting their basic medical, social and humanitarian needs in the fight against COVID-19.
Calling it the “most serious crisis” humanity has faced in decades, Modi underlined that at this time, NAM can help promote global solidarity. “NAM has often been the world’s moral voice. To retain this role, NAM must remain inclusive.”
He added that COVID-19 has shown limitations of the existing international system. In the post-COVID world, a new template of globalisation, based on fairness, equality, and humanity is needed, he said. “We need international institutions that are more representative of today’s world.”
The online NAM Contact Group Summit on “United against COVID-19” was hosted by current NAM Chairman and Azerbaijan President Ilham Aliyev.
Over 30 Heads of State and other leaders joined the summit. The Summit was also addressed by UN General Assembly president Prof Tijjani Muhammed Bande, UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres, African Union chairperson Musa Faki Mahamat, EU High Representative Josep Borrell, as well as WHO chief Tedros Ghebreyesus.
“Following the Summit, leaders adopted a Declaration underlining the importance of international solidarity in the fight against COVID-19. Leaders also announced the creation of a ‘Task Force’ to identify needs and requirements of member States…,” a statement by the Ministry of External Affairs said.
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