India’s Commerce Minister, in G-20 Trade Ministers meeting, informed that India has unconditionally provided medical supplies to over 120 countries to combat COVID-19
India has called upon the G-20 nations to ensure access to essential medicines, treatments and vaccines at affordable prices. In his Interventions during the 2nd G20 Virtual Trade & Investment Ministers Meeting, held through video-conferencing, Piyush Goyal, India’s Minister of Commerce and Industry, asked the G20 members to first focus on immediate and concrete actions that can ease the distress being faced by people all over the world due to coronavirus pandemic. He said that the unprecedented situation calls for solidarity and a balanced, inclusive and calibrated response. An overriding priority for all countries at this time is to save precious lives.
With regards to the healthcare and pharma sector, he strongly called for agreement to enable the use of TRIPs flexibilities to ensure access to essential medicines, treatments and vaccines at affordable prices. He also called upon the G-20 nations to also agree to provide diagnostic and protective equipment, and healthcare professionals across borders where they are most needed.
Sharing an example of India’s capabilities, Goyal said “When the pandemic broke out, India barely produced a few thousand pieces of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE). We had never needed PPEs in large numbers ever before. When we realised that countries were not able to supply enough for our needs, our domestic manufacturers created and ramped up capacities. So much so, that we now produce nearly 300,000 PPEs every day.”
The Minister said that widely regarded as the ‘Pharmacy of the World’, India is also proactively partnering in global efforts to develop vaccines and effective treatment for this disease. He said “We offer full support to any global engagements to further this cause. Staying true to our tradition of ‘Vasudhaiv Kutumbakam’, i.e. the world is one big family, India has unconditionally provided medical supplies to over 120 countries to combat this disease, of which 43 countries received it as a grant. In addition, a $10 million COVID-19 Emergency Fund has been created and is being utilised to deliver urgent medical supplies, equipment and humanitarian assistance to our neighbours. We are also sharing our medical and public health expertise and capacity with them, using digital technologies.”
Goyal said that learning from this extremely distressing experience, the world has to come together to build partnerships among like-minded nations with shared values of democracy, rules-based and transparent business models and concern for humanity as a whole. India wishes to contribute to this global effort.
He also thanked the Saudi Presidency for organising the 2nd G20 Trade & Investment Ministers Virtual Meeting.