Questioning UN response to COVID-19, PM Modi assures world of India's vaccine production prowess

At the landmark UN General Debate, Prime Minister Narendra Modi questions UN response in the joint fight against COVID-19 and assures the world that India will do all it can to help the world fight the pandemic.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Saturday raised questions on the response of the United Nations in combating the COVID-19 pandemic, and assured the global community that India will use its production and delivery capacity to help all humanity in fighting the deadly disease.

"Over the last eight to nine months, the whole world has been battling [coronavirus]. Where is the United Nations in this joint fight against the pandemic? Where is its effective response?" said Modi, adding that reform in the responses, processes, and the very character of the UN was the need of the hour.

In his pre-recorded video statement to the landmark General Debate of the 75th session of the UN General Assembly, Prime Minister Modi that even during these very difficult times of the raging pandemic, India's pharmaceutical industry had sent essential medicines to over 150 countries.

"As the largest vaccine-producing country of the world, I want to give one more assurance to the global community today. India's vaccine production and delivery capacity will be used to help all humanity in fighting this crisis," Modi said in a strong assurance to the international community battling the devastating coronavirus pandemic.

The COVID-19 pandemic has so far infected over 32 million people and more than 993,500 people have died across the world. In India, the deadly virus has infected nearly six million people and killed more than 93,000.

The prime minister's remarks questioning the UN's effectiveness in combating the pandemic came amidst the strident criticism of the role played by the World Health Organisation (WHO) by US President Donald Trump, who this week alleged that the top world health body was virtually controlled by China.

Trump has repeatedly blamed China for the coronavirus pandemic, which originated in the central Chinese city of Wuhan in December last year, and accused Beijing of suppressing details of the deadly contagion.

Modi told the 193-member UN General Assembly that "we are moving ahead with phase 3 clinical trials in India."

Prime Minister Narendra Modi

He assured that India would help all countries in enhancing their cold chain and storage capacities for delivery of the vaccines.

This year's high-level UN General Assembly is being held in a largely virtual format as world leaders did not travel to New York for the annual gathering due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Heads of state and government and ministers sent in pre-recorded video statements for the high-level week, including the special commemoration of the UN's 75 years and the General Debate.

Edited by Teja Lele Desai


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