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Modi raises questions on UN's response in combating COVID-19; assures world of India's vaccine production prowess

UNITED NATIONS: Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Saturday raised questions on the response of the United Nations in combating the COVID-19 pandemic, and assured the global community that India will use its production and delivery capacity to help all humanity in fighting the deadly disease.

"Over the last 8 to 9 months, the whole world has been battling the pandemic of the coronavirus. Where is the United Nations in this joint fight against the pandemic? Where is its effective response?" Modi said as he asserted that reform in the responses, in the processes, and in the very character of the United Nations is the need of the hour.

In his pre-recorded video statement to the landmark General Debate of the 75th session of the UN General Assembly, Prime Minister Modi said that even during these very difficult times of the raging pandemic, India''s pharmaceutical industry has sent essential medicines to over 150 countries.

"As the largest vaccine producing country of the world, I want to give one more assurance to the global community today. India''s vaccine production and delivery capacity will be used to help all humanity in fighting this crisis," Modi said in a strong assurance to the international community that is battling the devastating coronavirus pandemic.

The COVID-19 pandemic has so far infected over 32 million people and more than 993,500 people have died across the world. In India, the deadly virus has infected nearly 6 million people and killed more than 93,000.

The prime minister''s remarks questioning the UN''s effectiveness in combating the pandemic came amidst the strident criticism of the role played by the World Health Organisation (WHO) by US President Donald Trump, who this week alleged that the top world health body was virtually controlled by China.

Trump has repeatedly blamed China for the coronavirus pandemic which originated in the central Chinese city of Wuhan in December last year and accused Beijing of suppressing the details of the deadly contagion.

Modi told the 193-member UN General Assembly that in India and the neighbourhood, "we are moving ahead with phase 3 clinical trials in India."

He further assured that India will also help all the countries in enhancing their cold chain and storage capacities for the delivery of the vaccines.

This year's high-level UN General Assembly is being held in a largely virtual format as world leaders did not travel to New York for the annual gathering due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Heads of State and Government and Ministers sent in pre-recorded video statements for the high-level week, including the special commemoration of the UN's 75 years and the General Debate.

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PTI