Pitching for global efforts to defeat COVID-19, Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Tuesday said the pandemic has presented an opportunity to reshape the world order and create systems to address the problems of today and challenges of tomorrow, and highlighted India's efforts in protecting its people as also supporting pandemic response efforts of others in its own "humble way".
Asserting mankind will not be able to defeat the pandemic unless "all of us, everywhere, regardless of the colour of our passports, come out of it", Modi said hope matters as much to the citizens of the richest countries as it does to the less fortunate.
"During this pandemic, in our own humble way, within our own limited resources, we in India have tried to walk the talk. We have tried to protect our own 1.3 billion citizens from the pandemic. At the same time, we have also tried to support pandemic response efforts of others," the Prime Minister said in his inaugural address at Raisina Dialogue, held virtually.
Noting that this year, despite "many constraints", India supplied vaccines to over 80 countries, he said,"...we will continue to share our experiences, our expertise and also our resources with the entire Humanity in the fight against the pandemic."
Modi's comments come amidst criticism by several opposition leaders that the government was exporting Covid-19 vaccines to many countries despite a huge surge in India.
During an interactive session at the conference, External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar also talked about India's 'vaccine maitri' approach to ensure equitable access to COVID-19 vaccines, asserting that equitable access (to vaccines) was "critically important" to defeat the virus.
The PM also underlined the need to think of the entire humanity and not merely of those who are on "our side of the borders", and said humanity as a whole must be at the center of the thinking and action.
"The COVID-19 pandemic has presented us an opportunity to reshape the world order, to reorient our thinking. We must create systems that addresses the problems of today and challenges of tomorrow," he said. About protecting the globe, Modi said,"we may be used to having Plan A and plan B, there is no Planet B, only Planet Earth. And so we must remember that we hold this planet merely as trustees for our future generations." President of Rwanda Paul Kagame and PM of Denmark Mette Frederiksen also spoke at the event.