PM Modi announces project 'Aarogya Maitri' to provide essential medical supplies to developing nations

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New Delhi: Prime Minister Narendra Modi Friday announced a project under which India will provide essential medical supplies to developing nations in case of natural disasters or humanitarian crisis and proposed to set up a ‘centre of excellence’ to facilitate development solutions to these countries.

In his opening address at the concluding session of the Voice of Global South virtual summit, Modi also said that India will launch a ‘science and technology initiative’ to share its expertise with other developing nations.

He announced that New Delhi will institute new scholarships for students from developing countries to pursue higher education in India and create a new forum to connect young officers of foreign ministries of the countries.

“I would now like to announce a new ‘Aarogya Maitri’ project. Under this project, India will provide essential medical supplies to any developing country affected by natural disasters or humanitarian crises,” Modi said.

“For synergising our diplomatic voice, I propose a ‘Global-South Young Diplomats Forum’, to connect youthful officers of our foreign ministries. India will also institute ‘Global-South Scholarships’ for students from developing countries to pursue higher education in India,” he said.

In his remarks, Modi said India’s approach toward development partnerships has been consultative, outcome-oriented, demand-driven, people-centric, and respectful of the sovereignty of partner countries.

“I am happy to announce that India will establish a ‘Global-South Centre of Excellence’. This institution will undertake research on development solutions or best practices of any of our countries, which can be scaled and implemented in other members of the Global South,” he said.

Modi said India has also made great strides in areas like space technology and nuclear energy.

“We will launch a ‘Global-South Science and Technology initiative’ to share our expertise with other developing nations,” he added.

Modi highlighted the challenges of Covid, rising prices of fuel, fertilizers, food grains and increasing geo-political tensions and said they have adversely impacted the developing countries.

“The last three years have been difficult, especially for us developing nations. The challenges of the COVID pandemic, rising prices of fuel, fertilizer and foodgrains, and increasing geo-political tensions have impacted our development efforts,” he said.

“However, the start of a new year is a time for fresh hope,” he added. Listing India’s global outlook, he said its philosophy has always seen the world as one family and that the developing countries desire a globalisation that does not create “climate crisis or debt crisis”.

“We want a globalisation that does not lead to unequal distribution of vaccines or over-concentrated global supply chains. We want a globalisation that brings prosperity and well-being to humanity as a whole. In short, we want a ‘human-centric globalisation’,” Modi said.

He noted that developing countries are concerned about the increasing fragmentation of the international landscape.

“These geopolitical tensions distract us from focusing on our development priorities. They cause sharp swings in international prices of food, fuel, fertilizers and other commodities,” he said.

“To address this geopolitical fragmentation, we urgently need a fundamental reform of the major international organisations, including the United Nations Security Council and the Bretton Woods institutions,” he said.

He said these reforms should focus on giving voice to the concerns of the developing world, and reflect the realities of the 21st century.

“India’s G20 Presidency will attempt to voice the views of the Global South on these important issues,” he said.

Modi said the summit has seen participation from more than 120 developing countries.

In his concluding remarks at the leaders’ session, Modi said all the developing countries agree on the importance of South-South cooperation and collectively shaping the global agenda.

He said developing countries agree on the importance of investing in connectivity infrastructure and the need for diversifying global supply chains.

He further said that developing countries are united in believing that the developed world has not fulfilled its obligations on climate finance and technology.

India hosted the two-day summit to bring together countries of the global South and provide them a common platform to share their common concerns relating to various global challenges including food and energy security triggered by the Ukraine conflict.


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