India has provided medical supplies to over 120 countries to combat the coronavirus pandemic, out of which 43 countries received it as a grant, Union Commerce and Industry Minister Piyush Goyal said during the G-20 trade ministers session on Thursday.
Goyal participated during the second G20 Virtual Trade and Investment Ministers Meeting.
"We offer full support to any global engagements to further this cause. Staying true to our tradition of 'Vasudhaiv Kutumbakam' -- the world is one big family. India has unconditionally provided medical supplies to over 120 countries to combat this disease, of which 43 countries received it as a grant. We are also sharing our medical and public health expertise and capacity with them, using digital technologies," said Goyal.
During his intervention, Goyal called upon the G20 nations to ensure access to essential medicines, treatments and vaccines at affordable prices.
He said that the unprecedented situation calls for solidarity and a balanced, inclusive and calibrated response. "An overriding priority for all countries at this time is to save precious lives," the minister added.
He strongly called for an agreement to enable the use of TRIPs flexibilities to ensure access to essential medicines, treatments, and vaccines at affordable prices. He also called upon the G20 nations to also agree to provide diagnostic and protective equipment and healthcare professionals across borders where they are most needed.
Goyal said that learning from this extremely distressing experience, the world has to come together to build partnerships among like-minded nations with shared values of democracy, rules-based and transparent business models and concern for humanity as a whole.
"India wishes to contribute to this global effort," he added.
Sharing a small example of India's capabilities and commitment, Goyal explained, "When the pandemic broke out, India barely produced a few thousand pieces of Personal Protective Equipment. We had never needed PPEs in large numbers ever before. When we realised that countries were not able to supply enough for our needs, our domestic manufacturers created and ramped up capacities. So much so, that we now produce nearly 300,000 PPEs every day."
Underscoring the wide digital divide between developed and developing countries, the minister stressed on the urgent need to build the digital skills and capacities of developing countries and LDCs, rather than rushing to make binding rules on digital trade and e-commerce, which will freeze the extremely non-level playing field against their interests, and deprive them of the opportunity to benefit from the immense potential in these areas.