Foreign Minister is expected to meet UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres in New York and later he will hold discussions with his counterpart Secretary of State Antony Blinken in Washington DC, reports Asian Lite News
External Affairs Minister (EAM) S Jaishankar on Monday landed in New York, as part of his US visit, to meet with senior United States officials, and discuss COVID-related cooperation between the two countries.
Ambassador of India to the UN TS Tirumurti received EAM Jaishankar on his first visit to New York after India entered the UN Security Council.
“Privilege to receive External Affairs Minister @DrSJaishankar on his first visit to New York after #India entered the UN #SecurityCouncil on 1 January 2021,” Ambassador Tirumurti tweeted.
Jaishankar’s US visit is slated to last till May 28, the External Affairs Ministry said last week.
The Foreign Minister is expected to meet UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres in New York and later he will hold discussions with his counterpart Secretary of State Antony Blinken in Washington DC, the ministry said.
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.
With India hit badly by the second Covid wave, efforts of New Delhi will focus on getting the maximum and also looking for tie-ups with vaccine developers to produce in India.
US has a stockpile 60 million Astra Zeneca vaccine doses and also Pfizer, Moderna and Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccines.
US is playing a lead role in assisting India’s fight against the COVID-19 virus. It has already provided large oxygen plants, concentrators, critical medicines like Remdesivir and also raw materials for vaccine manufacturer Serum Institute of India (SII), which is manufacturing Covishield.
US is also backing India sponsored proposal on TRIPS waiver at the WTO.
The TRIPS waiver aims to increase global vaccine production in order to take on the challenge of vaccinating the poorest of the poor and save lives.
In October last year, India and South Africa, along with 57 members of WTO proposed a waiver from certain provisions of the TRIPS agreement for prevention, containment, and treatment of the coronavirus. EAM Jaishankar met his US counterpart Antony Blinken in early May in London during G7 Foreign Minister’s meeting.
Dr Anthony Fauci, the Biden administration’s top medical adviser recently said that it is imperative for India to collaborate with other countries, and companies to ramp up its vaccine production capability to vaccinate country’s huge population against COVID-19.
ALSO READ: India to begin Sputnik V production in Aug
Calling India as one of the best vaccine producer in the world, the leading American infectious disease expert said,”It’s a very very large country with a population of about 1.4 billion people, you only have a couple of percentage of the people who are fully vaccinated and over about 10 per cent or so that have at least one dose so you’ve got to work out arrangements with other countries, other companies at the same time as ramping up your own capability of making vaccines because as we all know, India is one of the best if not the biggest vaccine producer in the world.”
As several countries have announced support for India’s response to a devastating second wave of coronavirus infections that has hit healthcare facilities across the country, Dr Fauci told ANI in an exclusive interview: “There was the immediate issue that needs to be addressed as taking care of the people that are already infected. Getting better supplies of oxygen, oxygen cylinders, oxygen generators, PPEs, therapies like Remdesivir and things like that; the things that the US has helped with, but then probably in the intermediate and long run, you’ve got to figure out a way how to get as many vaccinations, administered to the people of India as possible.”
Noting that the B.1.617 mutant first detected in India has been found in over 40 countries including the US, he said, “in the ongoing crisis, the rich countries have a moral responsibility to assist those countries that don’t have the capability of doing that, particularly the low and middle-income countries.” (ANI)