Foreign Secretary Harsh Vardhan Shringla participates in US-hosted COVID-19 global action meeting
NEW DELHI: Foreign Secretary Harsh Vardhan Shringla said on Monday at a US-hosted meeting on the COVID-19 pandemic that India is in talks with the World Health Organisation for an MoU for sharing its CoWIN platform globally under an initiative of the UN body, according to sources.
Shringla also told the meeting, convened by US Secretary of State Antony Blinken, that India will be happy to extend the Indian SARS-CoV-2 Genomics Consortium (INSACOG) network of laboratories for genomic sequencing and surveillance in its neighbourhood, the sources said.
The foreign secretary also mentioned that India will take its experience in testing, treating and vaccinating a large population spread out in different geographies and terrains to create customised and tailor-made capacity building and technical training programmes for front-line and healthcare workers in Asia, Africa and Latin America, they said.
Shringla said four WHO-approved vaccines (COVAXIN, COVISHIELD, COVOVAX and JANSSEN) and three others due for approvals (CORBEVAX, ZyCov-D and Gennova) are being produced in India, according to the sources.
He said India has the capacity to produce 5 billion doses in 2022. Blinken hosted the COVID-19 Global Action Meeting to coordinate efforts on pandemic response, particularly in the areas of vaccination, supply chain resilience and strengthening the global health security architecture.
Shringla conveyed in the meeting that India has offered the CoWIN as an open-source digital public good and is in talks with the WHO for a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) for sharing the platform globally through the global body’s C-TAP (COVID Technology Access Pool) initiative, the sources said.
The CoWIN is India’s digital technology platform for COVID-19 vaccination. Shringla also apprised the meeting that India has supplied over 162 million vaccine doses to 97 countries and two UN organisations, the sources said, adding he also mentioned New Delhi’s humanitarian assistance to Myanmar and Afghanistan.
The foreign secretary said India is collaborating with its Quad partners to deliver a billion doses in the Indo-Pacific region in 2022, according to the sources.
The meeting was attended by foreign ministers and senior representatives of several countries and international organisations.
With External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar being on an official tour abroad, Shringla represented India at the meeting, the sources said.
The foreign secretary also mentioned India’s focus on strengthening and securing global supply chains and noted that the country will rally with like-minded partners and the WHO to improve sub-optimal approval and regulatory processes which are an impediment for stable and predictable supplies, the sources said.
He said India will also work for the implementation of the TRIPS waiver that it co-sponsored with South Africa to diversify local manufacturing in regional markets, they said, The foreign secretary said India has administered over 1.7 billion doses, fully vaccinating 70 per cent of its adult population and the CoWIN has handled up to 25 million daily vaccinations.
He said India is committed to playing a constructive role to help end the pandemic and that it will develop these ideas and share the next steps shortly, according to the sources.