Jaishankar and Guterres discuss ramping up global supply of vaccines, India’s priorities for UNSC

Jaishankar and Guterres discuss ramping up global supply of vaccines, India’s priorities for UNSC

Mr Jaishankar and Mr Guterres “agreed that greater ambitions required more resources and greater commitment from the developed world”

External Affairs Minister (EAM) S. Jaishankar’s U.S. visit began in New York where he met United Nations Secretary General Antoni Guterres. Discussions included ramping up the global supply of vaccines, including a World Trade Organistion (WTO) initiative sponsored by India and South Africa to waive intellectual property protection for COVID-19 vaccines and other related products, according to a statement released by India’s U.N. mission.

Climate change was also discussed, including the International Solar Alliance and Coalition for Disaster Resilient Infrastructure. Mr Jaishankar and Mr Guterres “agreed that greater ambitions required more resources and greater commitment from the developed world,” the statement said.

Mr Jaishankar also highlighted India’s priorities for its Presidency of the Security Council (August 2021) — this included a discussion of high-level events on maritime security and on technology and peacekeeping.

Afghanistan — and protecting the gains of the last two decades — was discussed at the meeting as was countering radicalization and terrorism in the region, according to the official statement from the Indian side. The two leaders also discussed the situation in Myanmar.

Also read: India set to begin its two-year tenure as non-permanent member of UNSC

“He (Mr Jaishankar) 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 recognized,” the statement said.

Mr Jaishankar also conveyed India’s support for Mr Guterres’s candidature for re-election for a second term as Secretary General. Mr Guterres had announced in January that he would seek re-election for a second term that begins January of next year.

Jaishankar to meet WH officials, Blinken

On Wednesday Mr Jaishankar is scheduled to participate in a Hoover Institution discussion on the India-U.S. relationship with former (Trump administration) National Security Advisor H R McMaster. He will also travel to Washington DC where he scheduled to meet with administration officials, including from the White House and National Security Council. Also on the cards are breakfast and lunch interactions with industry groups such as the U.S. India Business Council and U.S. India Strategic Partnership Forum. Mr Jaishankar will hold discussions with U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken on Friday.

The Hindu had reported last week that Mr Jaishankar would discuss the procurement of vaccines with Pfizer, Moderna and Johnson and Johnson officials. Pfizer declined to comment on the specifics of the discussions as they were confidential and ongoing but a spokesperson for the company told The Hindu that Pfizer was “committed to continuing our engagement with the Government of India towards making our vaccine available for use in the country.”

“Pfizer has created two dedicated supply lines with established vaccine capabilities — one each in US and Europe — to exclusively manufacture this vaccine for use across the world. Once the pandemic supply phase is over and we enter a phase of regular supplies, Pfizer will evaluate all additional opportunities available,” the spokesperson said in response to a question on manufacturing the vaccine for India’s use.

Moderna and Johnson & Johnson declined to respond despite multiple attempts to reach out to their representatives.

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