Economy

India, New Zealand discuss access to Covid-19 vaccines

Our Bureau New Delhi | Updated on May 25, 2021

Also discusses steps to enhance cooperation in defence, trade ties

India and New Zealand discussed access to Covid-19 vaccines and medicines and ways to deepen cooperation in areas such as defence, security, trade, space and climate change in consultations between senior officials from the two sides on Tuesday.

“Comprehensively reviewing ongoing bilateral cooperation, both sides discussed the steps to be taken to enhance the depth and momentum of engagement in different areas including defence and security, trade and investment, space, counter terrorism, cyber security, disarmament and climate change, and for strengthening people-to-people ties,” per an official release circulated by the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) following the 3rd Foreign Office Consultations between India and New Zealand were held virtually.

MEA Secretary (East) Riva Ganguly Das, Secretary led the Indian delegation while New Zealand-side was led by Mark Sinclair, Deputy Secretary, Americas and Asia Group, Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade. The previous round of consultations took place in February 2019 in New Delhi.

“Response to Covid-19 pandemic, and access to vaccines and medicines for containing Covid globally were also discussed,” the release said.

Earlier this month, New Zealand had said that it supported efforts at the WTO to temporarily waive intellectual property norms for Covid-19 vaccines. The TRIPS waiver proposal for medical products and vaccines was mooted by India and South Africa at the WTO and has been co-sponsored by 62 members including members of the LDC group and the African Group. New Zealand’s expression of support came a day after the US Trade Representative said that her country was willing to participate in negotiations for IP waiver for vaccines.

India and New Zealand also exchanged views on various regional issues. “They reiterated the importance of closer cooperation for a rules-based international order and a free, open and inclusive Indo-Pacific region. They also discussed ways to strengthen coordination in multilateral and regional fora,” the release said.

Published on May 25, 2021

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