New Delhi: French President Emmanuel Macron on Wednesday held a telephonic conversation with Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi and reiterated the support and solidarity of the French people in the context of a particularly deadly COVID-19 epidemic wave in India.
"In phone call with PM @NarendraModi, Prez @EmmanuelMacron highlighted that France would continue to stand by India to fight the pandemic together, with more support underway. The two leaders discussed how to bolster multilateral action against the virus," tweeted Emmanuel Lenain, Ambassador of France to India.
To respond to this emergency of exceptional magnitude, France launched an unprecedented solidarity operation, initiated on May 1 with the delivery of eight oxygen generator plants and medical equipment, and which is continuing in the form of supplying oxygen containers, read an official statement.
This "air and sea bridge", carried out with the support of French companies, will include a fresh delivery of oxygen generator plants in the coming weeks, thus contributing to boosting Indian hospitals' capabilities lastingly, added the French statement.
President Macron reiterated the importance of ACT-A, including the COVAX facility, to strengthen the multilateral approach to the production, sale and donation of vaccines, read the statement.
Since April 2020, the ACT-Accelerator partnership, launched by WHO and partners, has supported the fastest, most coordinated, and successful global effort in history to develop tools to fight the disease.
Meanwhile, France will be sharing at least 30 million doses of vaccines by different manufacturers by the end of the year through the COVAX COVID-19 vaccines distribution mechanism, President Emmanuel Macron announced on last Friday.
The COVAX facility has been established to even out the playing field by providing access to diagnostics, treatment and vaccines against the disease to developing countries. COVAX aims to ship close to 2 billion doses of vaccines by the end of 2021, in an unprecedented global effort to guarantee access to vaccines for all.
According to a PMO release, PM Modi thanked Macron for the assistance provided by France to India's COVID-19 response.
"The two leaders also expressed satisfaction at the depth and strength that the India-France Strategic Partnership has acquired in recent years and agreed to continue working closely together in the post-COVID era," the release said.
PM Modi also reiterated his invitation to President Macron to visit India as soon as conditions permit.
Moreover, President Macron and PM Modi agreed to deepen the Indo-French strategic partnership in defence, civil nuclear energy, the environment and maritime issues, particularly in the Indo-Pacific region.
Macron also welcomed India's decision to join the High Ambition Coalition for Nature and People, a decisive initiative in view of the IUCN World Conservation Congress in Marseille and the COP15 in Kunming, French statement read.
On climate, France and India reiterated their support for the International Solar Alliance.
The President of the French Republic stressed the importance of gender equality, particularly in the run-up to the Generation Equality Forum.
The Generation Equality Forum is a civil society-centred, multi-stakeholder, global gathering for gender equality, convened by UN Women and co-hosted by the governments of Mexico and France in Mexico City (29-31 March 2021) and Paris (June 2020), respectively. The Forum will celebrate the power of women's rights activism, feminist solidarity, and youth leadership to achieve transformative change.