New Delhi: At a time when Covid-hit India is getting immense support from global players and big and small countries, Foreign Secretary Harsh V Shringla has said that India is getting the international assistance and support simply based on age-old humanitarian formula, “We have given assistance and so; we are getting assistance”.
“……It shows (this is) an interdependent world. It shows a world that is working with each other,” Shringla emphasised at a news briefing here on Thursday.
“It is an interdependent world where we have given and we are taking also. Vaccine has to be seen in the context of international cooperation,” he said. Earlier India was in a position to supply vaccines and today its needs are far greater. “All our partners understand that,” he said.
Notably, External Affairs Minister Dr S Jaishankar also had maintained that the Vaccine Maitri has certainly “strengthened global solidarity with India”.
India’s Vaccine Maitri policy pushed by Prime Minister Narendra Modi in particular has been criticised by opposition parties and certain other quarters, on the argument that gifting and exporting the Covid vaccines has sparked off the ‘shortage’ crisis in India. The government’s argument has been on the contrary that immediately after the second wave hit India, over a dozen countries came forward to help India. This was certainly owing to the ‘good will’ developed by
the Modi regime especially since 2020 once Covid19 crisis had taken a toll in western world.
In reference to those questioning the government decision to ‘export’ vaccines, Dr Jaishankar also has said rather acidly: “Somebody will ask – why am I exporting to India. That is so short-sighted. Only non-serious, irresponsible people can make that argument”.
The foreign secretary also referred to Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s regional and global outreach in confronting the Covid challenges at the global, Asian and even South Asian level arising out of the pandemic since March 2020.
“The Prime Minister talked about the fact that countries need to come together to cooperate. That is why we initiated the SAARC conference on COVID-19 in March last year when it was a very new concept. We then initiated a call for a G-20 summit,” he said.
“We have extensively gone forward to assist countries which are very far and away,” Shringla underlined.
In fact, in his address to the NAM Summit (through video conference) on May 4, 2020; Prime Minister had 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”.
Though no country was named, it was clear that Modi was directing his ire against Pakistan. Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan had earlier given the SAARC virtual meet on Covid-19 a slip and had instead nominated his Health Minister to speak and who had raked up Kashmir issue.