In reportedly unscripted remarks at a closed-door meeting of Quad leaders in Tokyo, US President Joe Biden on Tuesday praised Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s handling of the Covid-19 situation in India “successfully in a democratic manner”.
Senior officials told News18.com that Biden contrasted India’s success with China’s failure in handling the pandemic despite the neighbouring countries being of comparable sizes.
“He (Biden) added that PM Modi’s success has shown the world that democracies can deliver, and busted the myth that autocracies like China and Russia can handle the rapidly changing world better because their leadership can take and implement decisions without going through lengthy democratic processes,” an official said.
India’s efforts in manufacturing and supplying Covid-19 vaccines to the world in a short span of time were also praised by the Australian and Japanese leaders at the Quad session, sources added.
Newly elected Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese said vaccines supplied by India to other countries made a difference on the ground, and “such success is more valuable than just winning a theoretical debate of ideas”.
Japan’s Fumio Kishida also appreciated India’s contribution and recalled that Indian-made vaccines delivered under the Quad Vaccine Initiative were received with gratitude in Thailand and Cambodia recently.
The Quad Vaccine Partnership was announced by the leaders of the four-nation grouping at their first summit on March 12, 2021. It aims to leverage the Quad’s collective strength to ensure global availability of safe and effective vaccines by expanding manufacturing and assisting countries in the Indo-Pacific with vaccination.
Quad countries — India, United States, Japan and Australia — had agreed to provide over 1.2 billion doses of Covid vaccines globally under this initiative.
While India has pitched in with manufacturing and supply of vaccines, Australia and Japan have provided cold storage equipment, freezers and temperature monitors along with equipment for safety of health care workers.
The US has provided assistance with surveillance and contact tracing, case investigation, training health care workers and data management.