(Asian News Hub) – India’s Permanent Representative to the UN Ambassador T S Tirumurti on Saturday said that UN chief Antonio Guterres, in a letter dated February 17, “extends his personal gratitude” to External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar for “India’s offer of 200,000 doses” of COVID-19 vaccines for UN peacekeepers.
Guterres has voiced appreciation for India’s leadership in the global fight against the coronavirus pandemic and its efforts to bring a “much-needed supply” of the COVID-19 vaccines to the world market.
The Secretary-General says “India has been a global leader in pandemic response efforts”, Tirumurti tweeted, expressing his gratitude to the UN Chief.
In an excerpt of the letter tweeted by Tirumurti, Guterres says, “Indeed, India has been a global leader in pandemic response efforts having provided critical medicines, diagnostic kits, ventilators and personal protective equipment to more than 150 countries.
“Efforts by India in developing and manufacturing one of the two vaccines currently granted Emergency Use Listing by the World Health Organization bring a much-needed supply to the global vaccine market. I also appreciate your continued efforts to support and strengthen the COVAX Facility to ensure more equitable access.”
COVAX is is a global initiative aimed at equitable access to COVID-19 vaccines.
On Wednesday, India, which has been hailed as the pharmacy of the world, announced the gift of 200,000 COVID-19 doses for UN peacekeepers.
“Keeping in mind the UN Peacekeepers who operate in such difficult circumstances, we would like to announce today a gift of 200,000 doses for them,” Jaishankar said, addressing the UN Security Council open debate on the implementation of resolution 2532 (2020) on the cessation of hostilities in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Quoting the Bhagavad Gita, Jaishankar had said “Do your work with the welfare of others always in mind.”
He told the meeting that it is this spirit in which India approaches the COVID challenge and urged the Council to work collectively to address its different dimensions.
The 200,000 doses essentially mean that it will be possible to administer the required double doses of COVID vaccines to all UN peacekeepers across missions.
According to UN Peacekeeping, currently, a total of 94,484 personnel are serving in 12 peacekeeping operations across the world led by the Department of Peace Operations.
A total of 121 nations are contributing uniformed personnel to the UN peacekeeping missions.
India is traditionally among the largest troop-contributing countries to peacekeeping missions.
Stephane Dujarric, Spokesman for the Secretary-General, had told PTI in response to a question on the Secretary General”s thoughts on the announcement by India, said that Guterres is “extremely grateful” for the gift of 200,000 COVID-19 vaccine doses for UN peacekeepers and the distribution will be operationalised by the UN”s Department of Support.
“We are extremely grateful for this donation announced today by the Indian delegation. The distribution will be operationalised by the UN”s Department of Support,” Dujarric had said.
Earlier this week, two versions of the AstraZeneca/Oxford COVID-19 vaccine were given WHO Emergency Use Listing (EUL). The versions of the AstraZeneca/Oxford vaccine, produced by AstraZeneca-SK Bioscience (AZ-SKBio) and the Serum Institute of India (AZ-SII), are now available for global rollout through the COVAX Facility.
The vaccine Covishield is the version of the AstraZeneca/Oxford vaccine produced by the Serum Institute of India. Covaxin is the indigenously developed vaccine by pharma company Bharat Biotech.
Jaishankar said these two vaccines have already been granted emergency authorisation and additionally, as many as 30 candidates are under various stages of development.
Under the initiative “Vaccine Maitri”, which translates into Vaccine Friendship, India is providing vaccines to the world.
Last month, Guterres had said that the vaccine production capacity of India is “one of the best assets the world has today”, and had applauded India for supplying COVID-19 vaccines to nations around the world.
I would like to say how much we count on India. I mean, India has one of the most advanced pharmaceutical industries. India played a very important role in the production of generics for use that was a very important element of democratisation of access to medicines all over the world,” Guterres had said.
US asks Pakistan, India to work towards stable relationship
(Asian News Hub) – Just before the all-important visit of Secretary of State Antony Blinken to India and other destinations of South Asia and the Middle East, the US has issued a statement, encouraging arch-rivals India and Pakistan to work for a more stable relationship.
Blinken is scheduled to visit India and other countries between July 26-29 in what is being said is an important tour in reference to the developing situation and increasing Afghan Taliban control in Afghanistan.
As per Acting Assistant Secretary for South and Central Asia Affairs Dean Thompson, Blinken would be discussing different options for what he called a “negotiated settlement” in Afghanistan.
Blinken is going to be landing in New Delhi on July 28 and is scheduled to meet External Affairs Minister Dr S. Jaishankar and Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
As per details, India’s role in Afghanistan and relations with Pakistan is going to be on Blinken’s agenda during his visit to India.
“We strongly believe that India and Pakistan’s issues are ones for them to work out between themselves. Washington would continue to encourage better ties between South Asia’s two nuclear-armed neighbours,” said Thompson.
“We are pleased to see that ceasefire that went into place earlier this year has remained intact, and we certainly always encourage them to continue their efforts to find ways to build a more stable relationship going forward,” he added.
The US played an important role in engaging both Pakistan and India to come down to an agreement and abide by the 2003 ceasefire after backdoor meeting between top military leadership of both countries in the Middle East.
On the other hand, the US seems to have keen interest in engaging India in seeing its increased role in Afghanistan, especially after the withdrawal of all foreign forces.
“We expect that all the countries in the region have a shared interest in a stable and secure Afghanistan going forward. We will certainly be talking to our Indian partners about how we can work together to realise that goal, to find ways to bring the partners together, and continue to pursue a negotiated settlement to the longstanding war,” said Thompson.
Interestingly, Blinken’s visit does not include a visit to Islamabad. However, the Biden administration has invited Pakistan’s National Security Advisor Moeed Yusuf and Director General of Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) Lt General Faiz Hameed to Washington during next week for talks with the American counterparts.
Over two million people died of drowning in last decade: WHO
(Asian News Hub) – The World Health Organization (WHO) has revealed that more than 2 million died due to drowning in the last decade, a number which exceeded fatalities caused by maternal conditions or protein-energy malnutrition.
Ahead of the first World Drowning Prevention Day to be marked on July 25, the WHO, in a statement released on Friday, said at least 236,000 people drown every year, and drowning is among the 10 leading causes of death for children and youth aged one to 24 years.
More than 90 per cent of drowning deaths occur in rivers, lakes, wells and domestic water storage vessels in low- and middle-income countries.
Half of all drowning deaths are in the Western Pacific and South-East Asia regions, according to the WHO.
Rates of drowning deaths per 100 000 population are highest, however, in the Western Pacific region followed by the African region.
“Anyone can drown, no one should,” noted Etienne Krug, Director of the Department of Social Determinants of Health, World Health Organization (WHO).
“I welcome the opportunity of this first World Drowning Prevention Day to increase attention and hasten action by governments and their partners to avert the pain and suffering caused by drowning, a largely preventable killer.”
World Drowning Prevention Day was called for by member states through adoption in April 2021 of UN General Assembly Resolution A/RES/75/273, which also invited the WHO to coordinate drowning prevention actions.
To mark World Drowning Prevention Day, WHO and partners will host a virtual event on July 28, entitled “Global, national and local reflections on World Drowning Prevention Day 2021”.
Pakistan deploys Army at Afghan border amid deteriorating situation in Afghanistan
(Asian News Hub) – Amid the deteriorating situation in Afghanistan due to US drawdown, Pakistan’s regular army has been deployed at the border areas with the neighbouring country as a security measure.
“Now regular army troops are manning the border after replacing the paramilitary forces,” the Pakistan Interior Minister Sheikh Rashid Ahmed was quoted by the Dawn.
There are two key border crossings between Pakistan and Afghanistan; at Chaman in Balochistan and Torkham in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa.
In recent weeks, large-scale violence has been on the rise as the Taliban stepped up its offensive since the start of US troops’ withdrawal from Afghanistan.
Meanwhile, the Afghan government has repeatedly accused Pakistan of supporting the Taliban and preventing the Afghan forces from carrying out military operations against them.
The decision to deploy the army was made amid the uncertain situation in the war-torn country.
“Paramilitary troops including the Frontier Constabulary, Levies, Rangers are deployed at the borders to deal with regular issues including illegal border crossing, smuggling etc,” the Interior Minister said. “However, the current volatile situation (in Afghanistan) demands that regular military troops be deployed along the border.”
Afghanistan is witnessing clashes between the government and the Taliban who have seized significant territories throughout the country and launched an offensive against big cities.
The growing Taliban offensive has created a humanitarian crisis in Afghanistan which is leading to a refugee problem. Meanwhile, the Pakistani government announced that it will no longer welcome Afghan refugees.
The ties between the two sides have further deteriorated since the daughter of the Afghan ambassador to Pakistan was briefly kidnapped on her way home in Islamabad on July 16. Thereafter, Kabul recalled its ambassador from Islamabad, demanding punishment for those responsible.
Grenade lobbed on police party in Rafiabad
Kishtwar Cloud Burst: Heavy rain halts rescue operation, 21 houses among 42 Structures damaged
On Party’s foundation day, Mehbooba Dares Delhi: ‘Whatever was snatched in Aug 2019, will have to be returned with interests’
- National7 days ago
Govt’s wrong decisions during Covid 2.0 killed 50 lakh people: Rahul
- State7 days ago
Govt amends J&K Domicile Act, now spouse of native woman, married outside, to get domicile certificate
- National7 days ago
India practices secularism, democracy and pluralism: RSS chief Bhagwat
- Business6 days ago
Tesla to resume accepting Bitcoin after due diligence: CEO Elon Musk
- Medical Science6 days ago
Scientists discover more than 30 viruses frozen in ice, most never seen before
- National4 days ago
BSF, Pak Rangers resolve to maintain peace on border in first meeting after Ceasefire
- International6 days ago
1.5 million children worldwide lost parents, guardians due to COVID-19: Lancet
- State4 days ago
Two unidentified militants killed, three solidiers injured in Sumlar B’pora