Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Friday delivered a keynote address virtually at the high-level segment of the United Nations Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) session. In his address, PM lauded the country's healthcare system to contain the spread of COVID-19 pandemic. He also credited India's "grass-root health system" in helping the country "attain one of the best recovery rates in the world in the fight against COVID".
This was the first address by the PM to the broader UN membership since India's overwhelming election as a non-permanent member of the Security Council on 17 June, for the term 2021-22. The theme of the high-level segment of the ECOSOC this year was "Multilateralism after COVID19: What kind of UN do we need at the 75th anniversary".
Referring to COVID-19, PM said the pandemic has severely tested the resilience of all nations. "In India, we have tried to make the fight against the pandemic a people's movement, by combining the efforts of government and civil society," he said.
"Be it earthquakes, cyclones, Ebola crisis or any other natural or man-made crisis, India has responded with speed and solidarity. In our joint fight against COVID, we have extended medical and other assistance to over 150 countries," Modi said.
Speaking about India's role in its region as a first responder, the Prime Minister recalled the support provided by the Indian government and its pharma companies for ensuring medicine supplies to different countries, and for coordinating a joint response strategy among South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) countries. In our joint fight against COVID, we have extended medical and other assistance to over 150 countries.
"We also helped create a SAARC COVID emergency fund in our neighbourhood," he said.
In March, India had pledged $10 million toward a 'SAARC COVID-19 Emergency Fund' as part of an initiative led by Prime Minister Narendra Modi in wake of rising cases of the disease in the region.
He reiterated India's call for a 'reformed multilateralism' in a post-COVID-19 world, which reflects the realities of the contemporary world.
In his address, PM recalled India's long association with the ECOSOC and the UN's developmental work, including for the sustainable development goals. He noted that India's developmental motto of 'SabkaSaath, SabkaVikaas, Sabka Vishwas' resonates with the core sustainable development goals (SDG) principle of leaving no one behind.
He pointed out that India's success in improving the socio-economic indicators of its vast population has a significant impact on global SDG targets. He talked about India's commitment to also support other developing countries in meeting their SDG targets.
He also spoke about India's ongoing development efforts, including for improving access to sanitation through the "Swacch Bharat Abhiyan", empowering women, ensuring financial inclusion, and expanding availability of housing and healthcare through flagship schemes such as the "Housing for All" programme and the "Ayushman Bharat" scheme.
Prime Minister highlighted India's focus on environmental sustainability and bio-diversity conservation, and recalled the country's leading role in the establishment of the International Solar Alliance and the Coalition for Disaster Resilient Infrastructure.
By Chitranjan Kumar