India is one of the biggest manufacturers of vaccines, and even while vaccinating Indians, the country has helped others, External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar said on Thursday.
Addressing the Auckland community business here, Jaishankar said, "During Covid, we were one of the biggest manufacturers of vaccines. We still are. And even while we were vaccinating our own people we took a very conscious decision to help others and we prioritized countries that don't have access to the free vaccines."
During the address, Jaishankar also said that the entire world is suffering from the Russia-Ukraine war and mentioned the Taliban takeover in Afghanistan as also a big issue.
Responding to a question about the existence of a binary view in the world and India's position in that, Jaishankar believed that the binary view is "outdated" and said, "One of the changes we have seen in the last few years is the US itself much more open to working with countries outside the traditional alliance or treaty or relationship. So, you have mechanisms like the court, which involves some traditional alliance for the US but also a country like India, which has historically stayed away from alliances and treaties."
"You know my sense of why we should really pit the binary framework to rest if you look at the distribution of power which are the major economies of the world. Economies large enough to have an impact on global decision making," he added.
He also said that in the 1970s and 80s the decisions were mainly taken by G7 countries but with time the decisions' centrality shifted to G20.
Jaishankar said that India is the fifth largest economy in nominal terms and is expected to become third largest by the end of the decade.
The External Affairs Minister recalled that India was requested to press the Russians on the issue regarding the safety of Zaporizhzhya nuclear power plant when the countries increased their fighting near the nuclear facility.
Jaishankar said, "When I was in the United Nations, the big concern at that time was the safety of the Zaporizhzhya nuclear power plant because there was some fighting going on very proximate to it."
"There was a request to us to press the Russians on that issue which we did. There have been other concerns at various points of time, either different countries have raised with us or the UN has raised with us. I think at this time whatever we can do, we will be willing to do," the EAM added.
Jaishankar said India may have had an impact on the UN-mediated grain deal that was worked out between Ukraine and Russia in August.
Earlier, Jaishankar held talks with his New Zealand counterpart Nanaia Mahuta and took up visa issues being faced by Indian students due to Covid-19 measures imposed by the country.
In Auckland, EAM will participate in an event on October 6 along with Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern to felicitate members of the Indian community in New Zealand for their exceptional achievements and contributions.
After wrapping up his New Zealand visit, the EAM will be visiting Canberra and Sydney. (ANI)