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Coronavirus | ‘Irresponsible people’ question export of vaccines: Jaishankar

Mr. Jaishankar said the second wave has exposed the vulnerabilities in the Indian capabilities that require upgradation and said accusing anyone of failure will not help the situation.   | Photo Credit: twitter.com / @DrSJaishankar

External Affairs Minister S. Jaishankar on Monday defended the decision to export vaccines and urged the domestic industrial sector to innovate so that they can meet the challenges thrown up by the second wave of COVID-19. At a virtual event organised by the All India Management Association (AIMA), Mr. Jaishankar said “irresponsible people” are likely to criticise the exports.

Also read: From May 1, everyone over 18 years eligible for COVID-19 vaccination: Central government

“So ask yourself this question — can I on the one hand go around the world and say guys keep your supply chains flowing towards me and by the way, the end product of the supply chain I am asking you raw material for — vaccine — but I am not going to give you the vaccine. If you get into this why are you exporting at all, then someone else will ask why am I exporting to India and that is so short sighted and only really irresponsible, really non serious people will make that argument, and by the way there are some around as you would have noticed,” said Mr. Jaishankar to a question from industrialist Sunil Munjal.

Mr. Jaishankar also said he is pushing big countries to send raw materials that are necessary to produce vaccines in India. The declaration came shortly before he spoke to U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken. Following the telephone conversation, Mr. Jaishankar said he discussed “issues pertaining to our health cooperation”.

He said the second wave has exposed the vulnerabilities in the Indian capabilities that require upgradation and said accusing anyone of failure will not help the situation. “Anybody who is honest about it and if you are not doing the blame game routine that is characteristic of our politics. There was a lot of societal complacency. For anyone of us to point a finger at anybody else, I think it is a very short cited attitude because the fact is everybody was complacent for a period.”

The Minister urged the industrial sector to step forward and augment factors like production of oxygen that is necessary to counter the pandemic.

“The pandemic has brought out deficiencies in our developmental model, in our health infrastructure. A year ago we were scrambling for face masks and how to make PPEs. We were far too dependent on supply chains abroad. I will say this candidly. Business is very fixated on its bottom lines and is not doing enough to build its own supply chains at home,” he said highlighting the shortfall of medical oxygen. He dwelt on the “long-term problems” and “potentially long-term answers” to counter COVID-19.

“One part of our collective ‘us’ should be asking ourselves why isn’t there medical oxygen production at home. I think there are long term lessons,” said Mr. Jaishankar urging to avoid “blame game”.

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Printable version | May 11, 2021 7:01:27 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/coronavirus-irresponsible-people-question-export-of-vaccines-jaishankar/article34360335.ece

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