External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar on Wednesday called for a global approach towards issues like climate change, terrorism and pandemics and emphasised on the need to effectively utilise the capabilities across the world to deal with the COVID-19 pandemic. One of the paradoxes of current times has been that though these issues are global problems, the response to them tends to be national, he said.
Speaking at a virtual interactive session with former British prime minister Tony Blair at the India Global Forum, the external affairs minister said, “The reality is that nobody can make vaccines by themselves. If the world comes together, we are going to scale up production of vaccines."
India has been consistently calling for adopting a united global approach in dealing with major challenges facing the world like terrorism, climate change and pandemics. “One of the paradoxes of our era is that the real problems are all global. Climate change is global, terrorism is global, pandemics are global. But our response tends to be national. Just look back at the last year-and-half," he said.
“Which country has not thought nationally? Unless we are able to overcome that and look at international coordination and collaboration, we are not going to be able to get on top of this," Jaishankar said, referring to the coronavirus pandemic. In his remarks, Jaishankar also mentioned the adverse impact of the pandemic including job losses on a huge scale, economic stress and how it forced people to change lifestyles.
“Our lives have come, in a sense, to a halt. People lost lives on a huge scale, the stress level has increased, there have been changes in lifestyle. It is huge and still continuing," he said. Jaishankar said that there have been indications from the beginning of 2021 by the world community on working together to address the problem.
“I am optimistic about much more international collaboration on the response system," he said. Jaishankar said the pandemic has taken health right up the priority list as well as accelerated the digital side of people’s lives.
“A new global agenda is in the making. The new global agenda is much greener, is much more health conscious much more digital. It looks at a lot of other insecurities which were magnified by the pandemic," he said. Blair said the G20 can play a crucial role in uniting global efforts to deal with the challenge.
He said India will be a very important player in the production of COVID-19 vaccines. In his comments, Jaishankar also underlined the need for reforms in multilateral institutions to effectively deal with challenges facing the world.
(With PTI inputs)