UN expresses solidarity with India in combating COVID-19

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External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar with UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres.
External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar with UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres.

New York [US], May 25 (ANI): During his meeting with External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar, United Nations Secretary General Antonio Guterres expressed solidarity with the Indian government and people in their efforts against the second COVID-19 wave, informed the Permanent Mission of India to UN TS Tirumurti.

According to a readout by Tirumurti, Jaishankar appreciated the efforts of the UN Secretary General to facilitate 'Vaccines for All'. He and Guterres discussed the need to ramp up global vaccine production through expanded supply chains.

"This was imperative to ensure fairer distribution of COVID vaccines globally in the coming days. The proposal by India and South Africa for Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS) waiver of vaccine patents can also contribute to greater production and more equity," Tirumurti said.

Jaishankar and Guterres also discussed ongoing global endeavours to address the challenges of climate change. The External Affairs Minister apprised the UN Secretary General of India's efforts to meet its Paris commitments, enhance renewable energy goals, as well as its leadership role in the International Solar Alliance and Coalition for Disaster Resilient Infrastructure. Both sides agreed that greater ambitions required more resources and greater commitment from the developed world.

The minister also outlined India's priorities for its Presidency of the Security Council in August 2021, including high-level events on maritime security and on technology and peacekeeping.

"He underlined our strong development partnership with Africa, small states and small island developing states. The Secretary-General conveyed his appreciation for the consistent role played by Indian peacekeepers in support of international peace and security. Their response in aiding the people of Goma in the Democratic Republic of Congo following the volcanic eruption was recognised," said Tirumurti in his readout.

Both sides further held a discussion on regional challenges in India's neighbourhood and shared their concerns about ensuring that the gains of the last two decades in Afghanistan are adequately protected. Countering terrorism and radicalisation remain priorities for the entire region.

Jaishankar conveyed that India values Guterres' leadership of the United Nations and conveyed India's support for his candidature for re-election for a second term.

Jaishankar arrived in the US on May 24, and is slated to visit many senior officials, including Secretary of State Antony Blinken, during his stay till May 28.

He will also be meeting Cabinet members and Senior Officials of the Administration dealing with the bilateral relationship. "External Affairs Minister will have two interactions with business forums on economic and COVID-related cooperation between India and the US," said the ministry statement.

India is engaged in talks with various US entities involved in Covid vaccines production and is looking forward to procuring and subsequently producing these vaccines. The issue of vaccine procurement is expected to be a key agenda item during Jaishankar's interaction with US leadership and other stakeholders.

The US has already announced that it is going to distribute 80 million vaccines from its stockpile to countries in need. (ANI)

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