India at forefront of battle against coronavirus, Narendra Modi says at SCO summit

Modi said that the Indian pharmaceutical industry sent essential medicine to over 150 nations 'in this difficult and unprecedented time.

FP Staff November 10, 2020 16:41:10 IST
India at forefront of battle against coronavirus, Narendra Modi says at SCO summit

Prime Minister Narendra Modi addressing the SCO summit. ANI

Prime Minister Narendra Modi, addressing the 20th Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) summit via video-conferencing, said India is at the forefront of the battle against the coronavirus and that the country will use its status as the world's largest vaccine producing country to aid humanity.

The summit of the eight-member SCO, held virtually due to the coronavirus, saw  top leaders of the organisation's member-states, including Chinese president Xi Jinping, Pakistan prime minister Imran Khan and Russian president Vladimir Putin (who chaired the meet) attend.

Modi, speaking on the coronavirus, said that the Indian pharmaceutical industry sent essential medicine to over 150 nations "in this difficult and unprecedented time."

The prime minister's statement comes a day after Pfizer Inc and BioNTech SE said an interim analysis showed their vaccine candidate to be more than 90 percent effective in preventing COVID-19 .

That news prompted Sir John Bell, a professor at Oxford University and also a member of the UK government's vaccine task force, in an interview with BBC Radio 4 to say that "life could return to normal by spring."

Modi, sending a message to China and Pakistan, called on the SCO member nations to respect each others' territorial integrity and added that it is unfortunate that repeated attempts are being made to unnecessarily bring bilateral issues into the SCO agenda.

"India has always been resolute in working in sync with principles laid out in SCO charter," Modi added.

This is the first time Modi and Xi have come face-to-face, albeit virtually, since the border stand-off between India and China began in eastern Ladakh in early May.

On Friday, the eighth round of Corps Commander-level talks broadly discussed disengagement of troops from specific friction points. Both sides would like to take forward the "constructive" dialogue to the next round with detailed deliberations, sources told PTI.

India and China are likely to hold another round of military talks this week.

Modi further said India would participate as a non-permanent member of the United Nations Security Council from 2021 and that he 'expects the support' of all SCO member-states.

India, earlier this year, along with Mexico and Ireland, was elected a non-permanent member for a two-year term starting 1 January, 2021. India has been pushing for reforms of the United Nations, including the Security Council, stating that its composition doesn't reflect the current realities and is not representative enough.

"We have always raised our voice against terrorism, smuggling of illegal arms, drugs and money laundering," Modi further added, in an indirect dig at Pakistan.

India will host the virtual meeting of the SCO heads of the government on 30 November in which Chinese premier Li Keqiang is expected to take part.

About SCO

The China-dominated SCO is an eight-nation regional grouping that represents around 42 percent of the world’s population and 20 percent of the global GDP. China, Russia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan are the founding members of the SCO.

India and Pakistan were admitted into the Beijing-headquartered grouping in 2017.

With inputs from PTI

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