S. Jaishankar, Minister of External Affairs on Wednesday, attended a virtual meeting with the G7 Foreign and Development Ministers fearing possible COVID-exposure. The withdrawal from a face-to-face meeting was decided in the wake of two Indian delegation ministers testing positive for COVID 19 in London.
External affairs minister joined foreign ministers of other countries on a video link where they deliberated on ensuring fairer access to vaccine stock and increasing support for COVAX, a global initiative aimed at equitable access to COVID-19 vaccines.
Vaccines and a diverse product line are the global answers to the raging Covid-19 pandemic, and India will play a role in achieving those goals, said External Affairs Minister Jaishankar on Wednesday. The external affairs minister also stressed the dire need for transparency in these situations where geopolitics is undergoing a phase of transition in the wake of the Global Pandemic. The only long-term solution to the COVID problem is vaccination. Diversified manufacturing, unbroken supply chains, and sufficient resourcing will be needed for a global response. He promised that India will play its part.
Jaishankar also had a meeting with the British PM Borish Johnson, albeit virtually. “Very good of PM Boris Johnson to reach out between the G7 sessions,” he tweeted along with a photograph of the virtual meeting. “Assured him that Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab and I will take forward the 2030 Roadmap. Committed to delivering on the Modi-Johnson vision of our ties,” the minister’s tweet further read.
Earlier the minister had also participated in an event organized by India Inc. in London where he said, “I don’t think that it is fair (to blame the government) either in terms of diagnosing the problem really and in assessing how the government responded to it.” The minister stressed that India is facing an ‘existential crisis and indulging in the blame game won’t help. He also defended the election that took place in India amidst the second wave, “ In a democratic country, you can’t not have elections are a deeply democratic country, we are a deeply political country,” he said.
The minister is in the UK on the invitation of UK Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab to attend the G7 Foreign and Development Ministers Meeting as a guest minister alongside Australia, India, the Republic of Korea, and South Africa, as well as the chair of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), as part of Britain’s Indo-Pacific policy to unite the world’s major democracies.