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India's Prime Minister Narendra Modi addresses the 76th Session of the UN General Assembly in New York City on September 25, 2021. Image Credit: REUTERS

United Nations: Mourning the loss of lives lost due to the global COVID-19 pandemic, Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Saturday reiterated India’s commitment to start giving vaccines to needy persons in other countries, even as he gave a clarion call to manufacturers to “Come, Make Vaccine in India”.

“For the last one-and-a-half years, the whole world is facing the biggest pandemic in 100 years. I pay homage to all those who lost their lives in such a terrible pandemic and extend my condolences to the families,” Modi said, addressing the high-level 76th United Nations General Assembly session here.

India’s vaccine delivery platform - COWIN, is providing digital support for hundreds of millions of vaccine doses in a single day, he said.

India had stopped the export of COVID-19 vaccines after the second wave of the pandemic hit the country hard in April this year.

On Monday, India said it will resume export of surplus COVID-19 vaccines in the fourth quarter of 2021 under the ‘’Vaccine Maitri’’ programme and to meet its commitment to the COVAX global pool.

“India, which lives on Sewa Paramo Dharma (service is the main duty), is engaged in vaccination development and manufacturing despite limited resources. I want to inform UNGA that India has developed the world’s first DNA vaccine, which can be administered to all people above the age of 12 years,” Modi said at the UNGA.

“Another mRNA vaccine is in its late stages of development. Scientists in India are also engaged in the development of a nasal vaccine for Corona. Realising its responsibility towards humanity, India has once again started giving vaccines to the needy of the world. I also invite vaccine manufacturers from all over the world today to- Come, Make Vaccine in India,” the prime minister said.

On terrorism, Modi said that countries with “regressive thinking” that are using terrorism as a “political tool” must understand that it is an “equally big threat” for them also.

Modi also called for ensuring that no country “tries to take advantage of the delicate situation in Afghanistan and use it for its own selfish interests.”

“Today, the world is facing an increased threat of regressive thinking and extremism. In such a situation, the entire world must make science-based, rational and progressive thinking the basis for development. In order to strengthen a science-based approach, India is promoting experience-based learning,’ he told the UNGA meeting.

“On the other hand, countries with regressive thinking that are using terrorism as a political tool must understand that terrorism is an equally big threat for them,’ Modi said.

Modi said it is absolutely essential to ensure that Afghanistan territory is not used to spread terrorism, and for terrorist attacks.

“We also need to ensure that no country tries to take advantage of the delicate situation in Afghanistan and use it for its own selfish interests,’ he said.

Under India’s Presidency last month, the UN Security Council adopted a strong resolution reiterating ‘the importance of combating terrorism in Afghanistan, including those individuals and entities designated pursuant to resolution 1267 (1999), and notes the Taliban’s relevant commitments.’

At the time, Foreign Secretary Harsh Vardhan Shringla had said that the resolution ‘underlines terrorist individuals and entities designated by UN Security Council (resolution) 1267. This is of direct importance to India.”

“Needless to say the adoption of the resolution is a strong signal from the Security Council and the international community on its expectations in respect of Afghanistan,” he had said.

In his speech, Prime Minister Modi said that the world must fulfil its duty by providing help to the people in war-torn Afghanistan where women, children and minorities are in need.

“At this time, the people of Afghanistan, the women and children of Afghanistan, and the minorities of Afghanistan need help. And we must fulfill our duty by providing them with this help,’ Modi said.

Last month, India had warned that a “grave” humanitarian crisis is unfolding in the war-torn country and everyone is concerned about the increasing violations of fundamental rights of the Afghan people.