PM bats for united approach to fight Covid-19 at G7

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Modi seeks support for proposal moved by India and South Africa at the WTO for a TRIPS waiver, move gets strong backing from Australia, others reports Asian Lite

Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Saturday urged the G7 states to adopt a united approach to the coronavirus pandemic and future health emergencies with the mantra of “One earth, one health”, amid support for India’s proposal for a waiver of patent protections for Covid-19 vaccines.

The Prime Minister sought the support for proposal moved by India and South Africa at the WTO for a TRIPS waiver. Australia and others came out strongly in support of his proposal.

His emphasis on keeping open supply chains for vaccine raw materials and components to help enhance vaccine production in countries like India received widespread support at the summit.

Modi called for global unity, leadership and solidarity and emphasized the special responsibility of democratic and transparent societies to prevent future pandemic outbreaks. He also mentioned that there should be ‘one earth, one health’ approach, which got echoed by German Chancellor Angela Merkel.

During his speech, the Prime Minister highlighted India’s ‘whole of society’ approach to fight the pandemic, synergising efforts of all levels of government, industry and civil society.

He spoke of India’s successful use of open source digital tools for contact tracing and vaccine management, and conveyed India’s willingness to share its experience and expertise.

Sources said the Prime Minister expressed India’s commitment to support collective endeavours to improve global health governance.

India first participated in the outreach Session of the G7 Summit in 2003 when the then Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee was invited by the then French Presidency. At the time, the focus of the summit was on climate change and global economic growth. Prime Minister Manmohan Singh participated in the annual G7 summit outreach sessions from 2005 to 2009.

France had invited Prime Minister Modi to the G7 ‘Biarritz Summit’ in 2019 as “a goodwill partner”. PM Modi participated in two outreach sessions- on ‘Climate, Biodiversity and Oceans’ and the second on ‘Digital Transformation’.

President Trump had invited PM to attend the G7 Outreach sessions in Camp David to be held in June 2020 under the US Presidency. The Summit was cancelled due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

On Saturday, PM Modi attended the outreach session at the summit which is being held in the UK, which is the current G7 president.

Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison, also a special invitee to the outreach session, and others supported the proposal for patent waivers, people familiar with developments said on condition of anonymity.

French President Emmanuel Macron, in his remarks, said countries such as India should be provided adequate raw materials and components to ensure the mass production of doses.

Modi also expressed appreciation for support extended by the G7 states and other countries during the second wave of coronavirus infections in India.

The Prime Minister, Shri Narendra Modi participates in the first Outreach Session of the G7 Summit, through video conferencing, in New Delhi on June 12, 2021. (PIB)

Ways to fight the pandemic, a call for a fresh investigation into the origins of the Coronavirus and China’s aggressive actions around the world have dominated the discussions at the G7 Summit that has brought together the leaders of Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the UK and the US in the British seaside resort.

The other countries invited as special guests for the outreach sessions are Australia, South Korea and South Africa.

India has engaged closely with the G7 states on issues such as health, climate and environment, digital and technology, and economic resilience. Indian ministers and officials have been involved in several working level meetings in these areas.

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