PM Modi promises to share Covid vaccine with rest of world

For how long will India be kept out of decision-making structures of UN: PM at UNGA session

Sandeep Dikshit

Tribune News Service

New Delhi, September 26

Prime Minister Narendra Modi became the first world leader to declare that India’s vaccine production and delivery capacity will be used for all of humanity in fighting the Covid pandemic.

As India and several countries in the neighbourhood are moving ahead with phase 3 of clinical trials of the Covid vaccine, PM Modi told the UN General Assembly on Saturday that India will also help other countries in augmenting the cold chain and storage capacities of neighbouring countries.

India’s approach outlined by the Prime Minister in marked contrast to the attitude of other countries and in line with the Government’s open handed approach of extending external aid for the fight against Covid. The US for instance has tried to commandeer supplies from all over the world only for its population while Russia has adopted a purely mercantilist approach based on the ability to pay. 

Speaking in Hindi via videoconferencing as the first speaker of the day, the Prime Minister eschewed confrontational issues, in marked contrast to the belligerent and vitriolic speeches by Pakistan PM Imran Khan and Chinese President Xi Jinping. Rather than responding to Imran Khan’s diatribes, PM Modi left that job to junior diplomats while exercising India’s right to reply.

Once again making a case for India’s permanent membership of the UN Security Council, the PM adopted a tone of weariness on the same lines of the Palestinian delegate on Friday.  “How long would a country have to wait particularly when transformative changes in that country affect a large part of the world,” asked Modi.

“Today people of India are concerned whether this reform process will ever reach its logical conclusion? For how long will India be kept out of the decision making process?” he reiterated.

Indirectly contrasting India’s behaviour with that of some new rising powers, Modi said, “When we were strong we were never a threat to the world. When we were weak, we never became a burden on the world.”

Pointing out that the world of 1945 was significantly different from today’s world, PM Modi said the form and the composition of UN at that time was in accordance with the prevailing situation of those times. But today the world is in a completely different era, where the requirements and challenges are vastly different from those of the past.

“Therefore the international community today is faced with a very important question. Is the 1945 character of the institution even relevant today,” he asked while cautioning that “if we don’t change then the drive needed to bring change will also get weakened”.

“One could say that we have successfully avoided a third world war but we cannot deny that there have been several wars and many more civil wars. Several terrorist attacks have completely shaken the world and rivers of blood have continued to flow by,” he pointed out.

“Can we suggest that the efforts of the UN to tackle these issues are sufficient? For the last 8-9 months, the whole world has battled the pandemic. Where is the UN in this joint fight against the pandemic? Where is its effective response,” asked the Prime Minister.

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