G7 Summit National

Fight against authoritarianism, extremism, says PM Modi at G7 meet

Prime Minister Narendra Modi speaking at the first Outreach Session of the G7 Summit, in New Delhi on June 13.   | Photo Credit: PTI

India is a “natural ally” to work with the world’s richest G7 countries to fight against threats of authoritarianism, said Prime Minister Narendra Modi, speaking at a special outreach session for guest countries on “Open Societies and Open Economies” at the G7 summit that ended in Corbis Bay, U.K., on Sunday.

Marking out the need for a “free, open and inclusive” Indo-Pacific, officials also said the government will study U.S. President Joseph Biden’s proposal for a “Build Back Better World” (B3W) initiative, seen as a counter to China’s trillion-dollar Belt and Road Initiative, that was endorsed by the G7, keeping in mind the principles of “transparency and inclusion”.

 

However, in a departure from the main 25-page G7 communique, which was issued by U.S., U.K., Germany, France, Canada, Italy and Japan, and contained negative references to China on the issue of its aggression in the East and South China Sea, and human rights issues in Xinjiang, MEA officials said Chinese aggression “was not raised” at the outreach meetings with guest countries Australia, South Korea and South Africa, and that there are “other forums” where it is being discussed.

The communique also made a strong call for a “timely, transparent, expert-led, and science-based WHO-convened Phase 2 COVID-19 Origins study including, as recommended by the experts’ report, in China,” that India had also called for in a statement during the World Health Assembly last month. “As the world’s largest democracy, India is a natural ally for the G7 and Guest Countries to defend shared values from authoritarianism, terrorism and violent extremism, disinformation and infodemics and economic coercion,” said MEA Secretary (Economic Relations) P. Harish, describing Mr. Modi’s virtual intervention at the summit, where Mr. Modi was the only leader not to be physically present, owing to the COVID-19 second wave in India.

Mr. Modi also called on “tech companies and social media platforms” to ensure a “safe cyber environment” for all, a statement significant given the government’s recent regulatory issues with Facebook, Twitter and other tech companies.

Seeks support on support on patent waiver

Mr. Modi has sought “strong support” from the G7 countries for the joint India-South Africa proposal for a TRIPs (Intellectual Property Rights) waiver for coronavirus-related medicines and vaccines.

Mr. Modi and other guest leaders attended three special sessions along with the G7 countries, including one on global recovery from the pandemic and access to vaccines, where the G7 committed to donating a billion vaccines to poorer countries, as well as a session on Sunday on climate change actions leading up to the COP-26 summit in the U.K. later this year.

According to the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA), the G7 countries all supported “text-based negotiations” on the TRIPS waiver proposal, although the European Union is yet to endorse it.

“President Macron also highlighted the need to focus on ramping up production capacity in Africa and called on India to lend its expertise as an important production hub globally,” said MEA Secretary (Economic Relations) P. Harish, adding that the UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres, who was also present, had said the TRIPs waiver would enable the UN plans to vaccinate the globe by doubling the production of coronavirus vaccines. “PM’s views were appreciated by other leaders in the gathering,” Mr. Harish added.

The session on Open Societies was one of three special sessions Mr. Modi and other guest leaders attended along with the G-7 countries, including one on global recovery from the coronavirus pandemic and access to vaccines on Saturday, where the G-7 committed to donating a billion vaccines to poorer countries, as well as a session on Sunday on Climate Change actions leading up to the COP-26 summit in the UK later this year.

In particular, The Prime Minister sought “strong support” from the G-7 countries for the joint India-South Africa proposal for a TRIPs (Intellectual Property Rights) waiver for coronavirus related medicines and vaccines. According to the MEA, the G-7 countries all supported “text-based negotiations” on the TRIPS waiver proposal, although the European Union is yet to endorse it.

“President Macron also highlighted the need to focus on ramping up production capacity in Africa and called on India to lend its expertise as an important production hub globally,” said Mr. Harish, adding the UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres, who was also present had said the TRIPs waiver would enable the UN plans to vaccinate the globe by doubling the production of coronavirus vaccines.


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Printable version | Jul 31, 2021 6:47:51 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/india-a-natural-ally-of-g7-narendra-modi/article34805604.ece

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