Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Monday said some countries are busy spreading “other deadly viruses, such as terrorism and fake news” when the entire world is busy grappling with the coronavirus pandemic. He did not directly refer to, or name, any country in his remarks during a video-conference of leaders of the Non-Aligned Movement (NAM), a forum of around 120 developing countries.
“Even as the world fights COVID-19, some people are busy spreading other deadly viruses. Such as terrorism. Such as fake news, and doctored videos to divide communities and countries,” he said.
The coronavirus crisis has shown the world the limitations of the existing international system and the need for a new template of globalisation based on fairness, equality and humanity, Modi said. He added that humanity is facing its most serious crisis in many decades and that NAM can help promote global solidarity as it has often been the world’s moral voice. “To retain this role, NAM must remain inclusive,” he said.
Modi said that in fighting the pandemic, India showed how democracy, discipline and decisiveness can come together to create a genuine people’s movement. He said humanity is facing a major crisis and NAM can contribute in dealing with it.
“India accounts for one-sixth of humanity. We are a developing country and a free society. During this crisis, we have shown how democracy, discipline and decisiveness can come together to create a genuine people’s movement,” he said.
“Humanity faces its most serious crisis in many decades. At this time, NAM can help promote global solidarity. NAM has often been the world’s moral voice and to retain this role, NAM must remain inclusive,” he said.
The video-conference was attended by over 30 other heads of states and governments and other leaders, including from member states in Asia, Africa, Latin America and the Caribbean, and Europe.
In a statement, the Ministry of External Affairs said Modi’s participation at the summit of NAM Contact Group underlined India’s longstanding commitment to the principles and values of the bloc as one of its leading founding-member.
Talking about India’s global role in providing assistance, Modi said it has provided medical supplies to 123 partner countries, including 59 members of NAM, notwithstanding its domestic requirement.
“India’s civilization sees the whole world as one family. As we care for our own citizens, we are also extending help to other countries….India is regarded as a pharmacy of the world, especially for affordable medicines,” he said.
In his address, Modi said the world needs to promote human welfare, and not only focus on economic growth alone. “COVID-19 has shown us the limitations of the existing international system. In the post-COVID world, we need a new template of globalisation, based on fairness, equality, and humanity,” he said.
“We need international institutions that are more representative of today’s world. Such as the International Day of Yoga, to improve physical and mental well-being of all humanity. Such as the International Solar Alliance, to help our planet heal from the disease of climate change,” he added.
Modi said NAM should call upon the international community and the World Health Organization to focus on building health-capacity in developing countries. “We should develop a platform for all NAM countries, to pool our experiences, best practices, crisis-management protocols, research, and resources,” he said.
The summit was also addressed by the President of the UN General Assembly Tijjani Muhammad Bande, UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres, African Union Chairperson Musa Faki Mahamat, EU High Representative Josep Borrell and WHO Director General Tedros Ghebreyesus.
Following the summit, the leaders adopted a declaration underlining the importance of international solidarity in the fight against COVID-19.
The leaders also announced the creation of a ‘task force’ to identify the needs and requirements of member states through the establishment of a common database reflecting their basic medical, social and humanitarian needs in the fight against the pandemic, the MEA said.