UN chief Antonio Guterres has voiced appreciation for India’s leadership in the global fight against the coronavirus pandemic and its efforts to bring a “much-needed supply” of the Covid-19 vaccines to the world market.
India’s Permanent Representative to the UN Ambassador TS Tirumurti tweeted on Saturday that Guterres, in a letter dated February 17, “extends his personal gratitude” to External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar for “India’s offer of 2,00,000 doses” of Covid-19 vaccines for UN peacekeepers.
The Secretary-General says “India has been a global leader in pandemic response efforts”, Tirumurti tweeted, expressing his gratitude to the UN Chief.
In an excerpt of the letter tweeted by Tirumurti, Guterres says, “Indeed, India has been a global leader in pandemic response efforts having provided critical medicines, diagnostic kits, ventilators and personal protective equipment to more than 150 countries.
“Efforts by India in developing and manufacturing one of the two vaccines currently granted Emergency Use Listing by the World Health Organization bring a much-needed supply to the global vaccine market. I also appreciate your continued efforts to support and strengthen the COVAX Facility to ensure more equitable access.”
COVAX is is a global initiative aimed at equitable access to Covid-19 vaccines.
On Wednesday, India, which has been hailed as the pharmacy of the world, announced the gift of 2,00,000 Covid-19 doses for UN peacekeepers.
“Keeping in mind the UN Peacekeepers who operate in such difficult circumstances, we would like to announce today a gift of 200,000 doses for them,” Jaishankar said, addressing the UN Security Council open debate on the implementation of resolution 2532 (2020) on the cessation of hostilities in the context of the Covid-19 pandemic.
Quoting the Bhagavad Gita, Jaishankar had said “Do your work with the welfare of others always in mind.”
He told the meeting that it is this spirit in which India approaches the COVID challenge and urged the Council to work collectively to address its different dimensions.
The 200,000 doses essentially mean that it will be possible to administer the required double doses of COVID vaccines to all UN peacekeepers across missions.
According to UN Peacekeeping, currently, a total of 94,484 personnel are serving in 12 peacekeeping operations across the world led by the Department of Peace Operations.
A total of 121 nations are contributing uniformed personnel to the UN peacekeeping missions. India is traditionally among the largest troop-contributing countries to peacekeeping missions.
Stephane Dujarric, Spokesman for the Secretary-General, had told PTI in response to a question on the Secretary General’s thoughts on the announcement by India, said that Guterres is “extremely grateful” for the gift of 2,00,000 Covid-19 vaccine doses for UN peacekeepers.