International cooperation answer to challenge posed by Covid: Jaishankar

Jaishankar pushes for vaccine equity as G20 foreign ministers meet face-to-face for the first time in two years


S Jaishankar | Coronavirus | International Relations

PTI & Reuters  | 

India’s External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar said on Tuesday that international cooperation is the answer to the challenge posed by the Covid-19 pandemic.

“Whether it is vaccines, medicines, PPE or oxygen, international cooperation is the answer to the Covid challenge. Need more, not less,” Jaishankar said while addressing the G20 Foreign Ministers’ Meeting here.

Foreign ministers from the Group of 20 major economies met face-to-face for the first time in two years, with host Italy aiming to push multilateral cures for global crises like the Covid-19 pandemic.

The one-day gathering in the heat-soaked southern city of Matera included debate on how to improve cooperation on an array of issues including global health, the climate emergency and international trade.

Jaishankar, in his address, said: “Institutional multilateralism has been found wanting. Reforms have many forms but vaccine equity will be the immediate test. The real economy needs decentralised globalisation, including in manufacturing, food and health. Resilient supply chains must develop in parallel.”

“The full diversity of our planet needs more accurate reflection in global policy making,” he added.

India has recorded more than 3 crore coronavirus cases and registered nearly 400,000 deaths due to the virus since the beginning of the pandemic last year. Globally, the coronavirus has infected over 180 million people and killed 4 million, according to Johns Hopkins University.

Italian Foreign Minister Luigi Di Maio told the gathering that “the pandemic has highlighted the need for an international response to emergencies that transcend national boundaries.”

The G20 members account for more than 80 per cent of world gross domestic product, 75 per cent of global trade and 60 per cent of the population of the planet.

German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas said he would raise his unhappiness at the way he thought China and Russia had offered their vaccines to boost their standing with certain countries. “(This) is not about achieving short-term geostrategic advantages,” he said before the meeting.

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken reiterated the importance of bringing vaccines to poorer countries that might struggle otherwise to obtain doses.

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