Participating in the Raisina Dialogue, the External Affairs said all countries should get access to Coronavirus vaccines

External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar on Tuesday said equitable access to Covid-19 vaccines is “critically important” as “no one will be safe till everyone is safe.”

Participating in a session at the Raisina Dialogue that focused on vaccines and global expectations, EAM Jaishankar said India’s ability to manufacture Covid-19 vaccines as an example of global cooperation, which is not a “one-way street where we are giving things to other people and somewhere short changing ourselves.”

His response came in the backdrop of the government’s decision to put a restrain over vaccine exports following a sudden spike in Covid-19 infections.

During the virtual session moderated by Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation CEO Mark Suzman, he said there is a need for additional production capabilities for vaccines, and without it, distributive justice by itself will not be adequate.

Highlighting that in line with its “Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam” outlook, India delivered vaccines to a lot of countries, he said, “Even before the pandemic, if you look in terms of humanitarian assistance, whether it was an earthquake in Nepal, or a civil war in Yemen, or a cyclone in Mozambique, or a typhoon in Fiji, or a mudslide in Sri Lanka, or whether it is taking the Paris agenda forward through initiatives like the International Solar Alliance, or how to respond collectively towards disaster resilience. So, there are very practical ways by which we have demonstrated our belief in the world as a family.”

Talking about India’s role in supporting global effort to supply vaccines, he said, “Our vaccine producers had some contractual commitments, they had commitments to Covax as you know, where we actually helped health workers in a number of African countries, with some of our own neighbours in South Asia, with the CARICOM with the FIPIC.”

But then he also highlighted shortcomings of globalization. “With countries like small countries, it isn't just the ability to buy, they don't actually have the wherewithal to really access the market. So I think it's important and again, while we are discussing vaccines right now understandably, I want you to look at it in terms of a larger picture, because in my view, one of the real debates about globalisation has been the equity and fairness of globalisation.”

“It is because globalisation has not been beneficial between societies and within societies. But you had people questioning the virtues of globalisation, and those who are truly committed to globalisation and wanted to do well, should, I think devote themselves to that,” he added.