Raisina Dialogue 2021: Foreign secretary Harsh Shringla says Covid-19 crisis has global dimensions, seeks cooperation
Foreign secretary Harsh Vardhan Shringla on Wednesday said the Covid-19 pandemic has “global dimensions” and cooperation between countries is essential. He also said that India would like to work in close cooperation with all countries.
Shringla made these comments at a session, ‘Plurilateralism Inc: The future of global governance, at the ongoing Raisina Dialogue 2021 to a panel which had former Prime Minister of Sweden Carl Bildt and OECD Sherpa to the G20 and G7 summits Nicolaus Pinaud.
“The Covid crisis has global dimensions, so cooperation is widely needed. The Saarc Summit initiated by PM Modi was a great example of regional cooperation, even if they did not meet eye to eye on political issues,” Shringla said while commenting on the impact of plurilateralism on global cooperation.
Mentioning the Quad vaccine collaboration initiative, Shringla said, “More recently, the first Quad Summit announced a vaccine initiative, whereby vaccines manufactured in India, financed by the United States and Japan, would be supplied across the Indo-Pacific with Australian last-mile logistical support.”
“The Quad, too, came up with a vaccine diplomacy initiative. India is a part of multiple groupings, including plurilateral, trilateral and so on. The aim is to use these to the maximum effect. As far as we are concerned, we would like to work in close cooperation with all,” Shringla was quoted by news agency ANI as saying.
Earlier in the day, India’s external affairs minister S Jaishankar, too, highlighted that the Covid-19 vaccine is one of the 10 areas of focus for the Quad. “On the Quad, we have focused on 10 areas -- vaccine collaboration, higher education, student mobility, climate action, emerging technology, resilient supply-chains, semiconductors, countering disinformation, counter-terrorism and maritime security,” he said.
The foreign secretary also said that there is a need for reformed multilateralism and India’s multilateralism gives a voice to more countries. “India has come up with reformed multilateralism, granting a voice to more countries. It is not a rigid system where the status quo persists. Countries form effective mechanisms to find solutions to global problems and issues,” Shringla said.
“There is a need for reformed multilateralism. Where it is convenient for India to engage, we will engage, be it in the multilateral or plurilateral format,” he further added.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi inaugurated the sixth edition of the Raisina Dialogue, India’s premier conference on geopolitics and geoeconomics, on April 13 (Tuesday). It is being held virtually this year due to the coronavirus pandemic and is being hosted by the Observer Research Foundation in partnership with the ministry of external affairs.
(With inputs from agencies)