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Modi pushes for ‘mutual recognition of vaccine certificates’ in US

INTERNATIONAL DESK: Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who left for the United States on Wednesday, said international travel should be made easier through “mutual recognition of vaccine certificates”.

In his video remarks at the Global Covid Summit hosted by US President Joe Biden, Modi also said India is ramping up production capacity of existing vaccines and the supply chains of raw materials must be kept open.

“The Covid-19 pandemic has been an unprecedented disruption. It is not yet over. Much of the world is still to be vaccinated. That is why this initiative by President Biden is timely, and welcome… We also need to focus on addressing the pandemic’s economic effects. To that end, international travel should be made easier through mutual recognition of vaccine certificates,” Modi said.

“India is now running the world’s largest vaccination campaign. Recently, we vaccinated about 25 million people on a single day. Our grassroots-level healthcare system has delivered over 800 million vaccine doses so far. Over 200 million Indians are now fully vaccinated. This has been enabled through the use of our innovative digital platform called Co-Win. In the spirit of sharing, India has made Co-Win, and many other digital solutions, available freely and open source software,” he said.

As India looks to resume export of Covid-19 vaccines to poorer nations, Modi said “supply chains of raw materials must be kept open”. “As newer Indian vaccines get developed, we are also ramping up production capacity of existing vaccines. As our production increases, we will be able to resume vaccine supplies to others, too. For this, the supply chains of raw materials must be kept open. With our Quad partners, we are leveraging India’s manufacturing in producing vaccines for the India-Pacific region,” he said.

In his departure statement earlier in the day, Modi said he would review India-US ties with US President Joe Biden and exchange views on regional and global issues of “mutual interest”, and discuss cooperation in science and technology with Vice President Kamala Harris.

This clear demarcation of agenda items between the US President and Vice President sought to signal that the Prime Minister has separated the priority issues for his discussions with both leaders.

Sources said Modi is expected to discuss the situation in Afghanistan, Pakistan’s role in fuelling terrorism in the region, Indo-Pacific strategy and China’s belligerence with Biden.

With Harris, who had called up Modi in June and conveyed the US decision to supply vaccines, sources said the cooperation in vaccine production and challenges due to the pandemic are expected to be on the agenda.

“During my visit, I will review the India-US Comprehensive Global Strategic Partnership with President Biden and exchange views on regional and global issues of mutual interest. I am also looking forward to meeting Vice President Kamala Harris to explore opportunities for cooperation between our two nations particularly in the area of science and technology,” he said.

(The Indian Express)