India and Australia agreed on the need to ensure affordable and equitable access to Covid-19 vaccines and medicines

Prime Minister Narendra Modi has sought Australia's support for the initiative taken at the World Trade Organisation (WTO) by India and South Africa to seek a temporary waiver under TRIPS for Covid-19 vaccines.

India's request was conveyed by PM Modi during a telephone conversation with Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison on Friday.

This comes barely a day after the US announced its support for waiving Intellectual Property (IP) protections on COVID-19 vaccines to help end the pandemic. The US said that it will actively participate in WTO negotiations to make that happen.

According to the Indian Prime Minister's Office (PMO), the two leaders agreed on the need to ensure affordable and equitable access to vaccines and medicines for containing COVID globally.

Prime Minister Modi also conveyed his appreciation for the prompt and generous support extended by the government and people of Australia for India’s fight against the second wave of COVID-19.

"Spoke with my friend @ScottMorrisonMP to thank him for Australia’s solidarity and support for India’s fight against the pandemic. We agreed on the importance of ensuring affordable and equitable access to vaccines and medicines, and discussed possible initiatives in this regard," PM Modi tweeted after the telephone call.

The Australian Prime Minister reciprocated by saying that they won't forget India's generosity in exporting vaccines.

"Just spoke with our friend, PM @narendramodi who thanked Australia for standing by India during the #COVID19 crisis. We’re supporting them with ventilators and oxygen concentrators. We won’t forget India’s generosity in exporting vaccines. We’ll work closely on global challenges," PM Morrison said on Twitter.

The leaders took note of the progress made in the India-Australia Comprehensive Strategic Partnership since the Virtual Summit held on June 4 last year and discussed ways to further strengthen cooperation and foster people-to-people ties.

The two PMs also discussed regional issues and reiterated the importance of working together for a "rules-based international order and a free, open and inclusive Indo-Pacific region".