India’s External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar and the United Nations General Secretary Antonio Guterres on Tuesday, in New York, discussed effective COVID-19 vaccine solutions, supply chains and fairer distribution.
The World Health Organization is looking for ways to ramp up vaccine supplies to the COVAX facility to increase the distribution of doses to low and middle-income countries. The surge in COVID-19 infections brought in by the second wave brought production and supply of the essential vaccine to a grinding halt. The disruption of supplies from Serum Institute of India (SII), the world’s largest vaccine manufacturer, has hit COVAX’s plans for supplying doses to dozens of countries.
“A warm & comprehensive meeting with UN Secretary General @antonioguterres. Discussed the COVID challenge, underlining the importance of finding urgent and effective global vaccination solutions. Critical to ramp up the vaccine supply chain to ensure greater production and fairer distribution,” Jaishankar tweeted after the face-to-face meeting. “Exchanged views on climate action. Greater resources are essential for larger ambitions. Financing will determine our seriousness and credibility. Highlighted India’s constructive role in UNSC and conveyed priorities of our Presidency in August. Maritime Security and Technology for Peacekeeping address the needs of the day. Welcomed SG’s appreciation of India’s Peacekeeping operations including at Goma, DRC recently.”
Jaishankar and the UN chief also discussed the Afghan situation following the US withdrawing its forces. “Deliberated on regional challenges in India’s neighborhood. Shared our concerns about ensuring that the gains of the last two decades in Afghanistan are adequately protected.” The minister said countering terrorism and radicalization remain priorities for the entire region.
Jaishankar is also expected to meet the US Secretary of State Anthony Blinken to discuss a wide range of issues from COVID-19 vaccine to strengthening of the Indo-Pacific cooperation through the Quad. “The Secretary looks forward to meeting Minister Jaishankar during his visit, and to discussing a broad range of issues, including COVID-19 relief, efforts to strengthen Indo-Pacific cooperation through the Quad, enhanced UN and multilateral cooperation, and a range of other shared regional security and economic priorities,” the State Department spokesperson said.