Secretary, Ministry of Defence Dr Ajay Kumar has said that active collaborations, research partnerships and leveraging each other’s strengths are the ways ahead to fight pandemics like COVID-19. Dr Kumar said this in his address at the plenary session of the 9th Moscow Conference on International Security on the topic ‘Role of Military Agencies in fighting against COVID-19’, in Moscow, Russia yesterday.
Noting that global challenges like COVID-19 make no distinction among nations, the Defence Secretary stressed on bolstering infrastructure and capabilities for global response to prevent eruption of such diseases in future. He urged the international community to focus on proactive vaccinations and keep ahead of the curve to deal with COVID-19 pandemic.
Highlighting India’s assistance to other countries in fighting the pandemic, the Defence Secretary said, India not only fought its own battle, but it also helped and continues to help friendly foreign nations to withstand COVID-19. The Defence Secretary reiterated the Government’s resolve to make vaccines and drugs effective and affordable for all, terming vaccination as the mainstay of the country’s response to the pandemic.
He also stated that as on date, India’s contribution of 66 million doses of vaccine to other countries is the largest from any country. Dr Kumar described Russia as a front ranking fighter against COVID-19 and hoped that the Russian vaccine, Sputnik V will play a significant role in mitigating the pandemic in India. He said, mass production of the vaccine in India is expected to commence soon.
He said, a total of about 900 million doses of Sputnik V are expected to be produced in India, accounting for 70% of its global production. On the India-Russia defence relations, Dr Kumar termed the ties as an integral pillar of the Special and Privileged Strategic Partnership between the two countries. He welcomed Russia’s willingness to actively engage in India’s ‘Make in India’ program for co-development and production of high technology defence items.