Prime Minister Narendra Modi discussed initiatives for equitable and affordable access to Covid-19 vaccines with his Australian counterpart Scott Morrison over phone. PM Modi and PM Morrison agreed that the vaccines are crucial for fighting the coronavirus pandemic.

The two leaders spoke in the backdrop an exponential surge in Covid-19 cases in India and growing chorus across the world for a waiver on intellectual property rights for Covid-19 vaccines under the mechanism set up by the World Trade Organisation (WTO).

PM Modi took to Twitter to thank PM Morrison for Australia’s support in India’s fight against Covid-19 pandemic.

PM Modi wrote on Twitter: “Spoke with my friend @ScottMorrisonMP to thank him for Australia’s solidarity and support for India’s fight against the pandemic. We agreed on the importance of ensuring affordable and equitable access to vaccines and medicines, and discussed possible initiatives in this regard.”

After the telephonic conversation, PM Morrison said Australia was supporting India with ventilators and oxygen concentrators.

PM Morrison wrote on Twitter: “Just spoke with our friend, PM@narendramodi who thanked Australia for standing by India during the #COVID19 crisis. We’re supporting them with ventilators and oxygen concentrators. We won’t forget India’s generosity in exporting vaccines. We’ll work closely on global challenges.”

India Seeks Australia’s Support For Trips Waiver

PM Modi sought Australia's support for the initiative taken at the World Trade Organisation (WTO) by India and South Africa to seek a temporary waiver for Covid-19 vaccines under the Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS).

India and South Africa had submitted a TRIPS waiver proposal for Covid-19 vaccines to the WTO in October 2020. More than 100 countries have expressed support to the proposal, but some bigger economies are against it. Earlier this week, the US supported the move.

The TRIPS waiver is thought to be essential to ensure that all global economies recover from the pandemic and thrive. It seeks to make vaccines, testing, and treatments available everywhere at an affordable cost in an effort to contain the virus globally.

India had made the proposal for a waiver for greater access, based on a medical premise that no one is safe until everyone is safe.

Modi, Morrison Discuss Continued Partnership

PM Modi and PM Morrison took note of the progress made in the India-Australia Comprehensive Strategic Partnership since the virtual summit held on June 4, 2020. They discussed ways to further strengthen cooperation and foster people-to-people ties.

PM Modi and PM Morrison also discussed regional issues and reiterated the importance of working together for a rules-based international order and a free, open and inclusive Indo-Pacific region.