Affirming his faith in India's ability to counter the second deadly COVID-19 wave, France's President Emmanuel Macron expressed solidarity with Prime Minister Narendra Modi at the India-EU virtual summit in presence of 26 other EU leaders on Saturday evening. Amid the noise over COVID-19 vaccine shortage and criticism aimed at the Narendra Modi government, Macron asserted that India does not need to be 'lectured from anyone' on vaccine supplies. At the virtual summit attended by Germany's Angela Merkel and the EU president Ursula von der Leyen amongst others, the French President highlighted India's vaccine exports to several countries in the time of the pandemic.
"India does not need to listen to lectures from anyone about vaccine supplies. India has exported a lot for humanity to many countries. We know what situation India is in," the French President said.
Proving to be 'World's Pharmacy,' India under its 'Vaccine Maitri' initiative to help the globe battle COVID-19 pandemic, initially exported COVID-19 vaccines to as many as 95 countries, as per MEA data. Nearly 663.698 lakhs of COVID-19 jabs have been exported to countries across the globe including Iran, Uganda, Ukraine, Saudi Arabia, UAE and Brazil amongst others, since India began manufacturing the vaccines. This was paused as India's domestic requirements overwhelmed any possibility of exports.
A pivotal moment!— Arindam Bagchi (@MEAIndia) May 8, 2021
PM @narendramodi interacts with all leaders of EU Member States along with Presidents @eucopresident & @vonderleyen #IndiaEU Leaders meet for the 1st time in EU+27 format. Reflects a strong political will to deepen the 🇮🇳-🇪🇺 relations. pic.twitter.com/tCtkypj636
At the EU council meeting on Saturday, Prime Minister Narendra Modi urged European leaders to support the TRIPS waiver at WTO for COVID-related treatments and vaccines. The TRIPS agreement provides the basic minimum standards on how 7 different forms of Intellectual Property: copyrights, trademarks, geographical indications, industrial designs, patents, layout designs for integrated circuits, and undisclosed information (trade secrets) are governed. For context, the WTO has the ability to invoke a waiver of certain Intellectual Property rights, thereby ensuring greater accessibility to key drugs and vaccines across the globe. PM Modi's call comes days after the United States declared its support for the waiver of Intellectual Property protections on COVID-19 vaccines.
European leaders, including the Spanish Prime Minister and the Portuguese head of state, individually expressed their gratitude to PM Modi as India extended support when the second wave of Coronavirus wreaked havoc across Europe last year. They also expressed solidarity with the people of India and committed to provide support in aiding India's battle against the second wave.
EU- INDIA JOINT STATEMENT
"We deeply condoled the loss of lives and expressed the deepest sympathy with the families of the victims of this pandemic in India.
we welcomed the EU’s and its Member States’ contribution to vaccines’ production and their substantial support to the COVAX Facility, as well as India’s efforts to produce and distribute COVID-19 vaccines to over 90 countries through its ‘Vaccine Maitri’.
India appreciated the EU’s and its Member States’ quick support and assistance, coordinated through the EU Civil Protection Mechanism, thus keeping the spirit of solidarity and cooperation that has been the hallmark of India-EU relations."
At a virtual summit with 27 national leaders, European Union (EU) and India pushed for a deeper strategic alliance. A strengthened exchange of views and information between India and the EU on matters of mutual interest in the areas of economic cooperation has always improved the business environment and strengthened economic association.
The leaders will exchange views on the COVID-19 pandemic and healthcare cooperation; fostering sustainable and inclusive growth; strengthening the India-EU economic partnership as well as regional and global issues of mutual interest.
The leaders are set to negotiate on 3 important agreements including a) Trade, investment and geographical indications; b) Connectivity Partnership and Human Rights Dialogue c) Closer security cooperation in the Indo-Pacific and beyond.