Indian External Affairs Minister S. Jaishankar at UN Discusses Covid Vaccines, Terrorism
Indian External Affairs Minister Dr. S. Jaishankar (left) meeting with UN Secretary-General António Guterres in New York May 25. (ANI photo)
By ARUL LOUIS/IANS
UNITED NATIONS — India’s External Affairs Minister S. Jaishankar has offered India’s support to UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres for his re-election during a meeting in New York at which they discussed a range of issues from Covid-19 vaccines to terrorism.
In a tweet after the meeting May 25, Jaishankar said that he told Guterres that India “values” his leadership and conveyed its support for his election to a second term.
The global crisis of the Covid-19 pandemic featured prominently in their discussions.
Jaishankar tweeted that they emphasized the importance of finding “urgent and effective global vaccine solutions” and the critical need to ramp up the vaccine supply chain to “ensure greater production and fairer distribution.”
With India set to assume the rotating presidency of the Security Council in August, their meeting covered a wide range of issues.
In a series of tweets on the meeting, Jaishankar said that they talked about “regional challenges in India’s neighborhood” and “shared our concerns about ensuring that the gains of the last two decades in Afghanistan are adequately protected.”
U.S. President Joe Biden is pulling out the nation’s troops from Afghanistan after a 20-year deployment even as terrorist activities continue raising fears of regional instability.
In his tweets Jaishankar said, “Countering terrorism and radicalization remain priorities for the entire region.”
Jaishankar said that he “highlighted India’s constructive role” in the Security Council and “conveyed priorities of our presidency in August.”
He added, “Maritime security and technology for peacekeeping address the needs of the day.”
A spokesperson for India’s UN Mission said that India planned to hold high-level meetings on those topics during its presidency.
Jaishankar also noted that Guterres expressed “appreciation of India’s peacekeeping operations including at Goma, DRC (Democratic Republic of Congo) recently.”
India peacekeepers based in Goma have been involved in rescue operations after the eruption of the Mount Nayargongo volcano displaced several thousand people in the region last week. Several hundred people are also missing following the calamity.
Climate change, a topic that Guterres gives top priority to, also was discussed, Jaishankar tweeted. “Greater resources are essential for larger ambitions (in setting goals for combatting climate change). Financing will determine our seriousness and credibility,” he added.
The spokesperson for India’s UN mission said that Jaishankar “apprised the Secretary General of India’s efforts to meet its Paris commitments (on curbing greenhouse emissions), enhance renewable energy goals, as well as its leadership role in the International Solar Alliance and Coalition for Disaster Resilient Infrastructure.”
Jaishankar “underlined our strong development partnership with Africa, Small States and Small Island Developing States,” the spokesperson said.
“The Secretary-General conveyed his appreciation for the consistent role played by Indian peacekeepers in support of international peace and security. Their response in aiding the people of Goma in the Democratic Republic of Congo following the volcanic eruption was recognized,” the diplomat added.
In the discussion of fighting Covid-19, they felt that “the proposal by India and South Africa for a temporary waiver of vaccine patents “can also contribute to greater production and more equity,” the spokesperson said.
The U.S. has agreed to the waiver, but it is facing opposition from several countries including Germany.
Guterres’s spokesperson Stephane Dujarric said that they “discussed a number of issues relating to peace and security” but said he had no further details on those topics.
He also said that they discussed the Covid situation and the development of vaccines.
Guterres is running for re-election with no credible opposition and in the election India gets two votes, one in the Security Council and another in the General Assembly.
A Canadian of Indian descent, Arora Akanksha, has declared she is running for the office, as have at least five others, but lacking a government sponsorship, their candidacy has not so far been accepted officially.