With a veiled reference to Pakistan, Prime Minister Narendra Modi on 4 May said some countries were busy spreading “other deadly viruses, such as terrorism and fake news” when the entire world is busy grappling with the coronavirus pandemic. He said this during the video-conference of leaders of the almost irrelevant Nehru-era 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,” the Indian prime minister said.
Modi added that the crisis of global pandemic of the coronavirus disease (COVID) had shown the world the limitations of the existing international system and woke nations up to the need for a new template of globalisation based on fairness, equality and humanity. The prime minister said further that humanity was facing its most serious crisis in many decades and that NAM could help promote global solidarity as it had often been the world’s moral voice. “To retain this role, NAM must remain inclusive,” he said.
Modi said India had shown how democracy, discipline and decisiveness could come together to create a genuine people’s movement — in fighting the pandemic. He said humanity was facing a major crisis and NAM could contribute to 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,” the prime minister said.
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 — participated in the video-conference.
In a statement, the Ministry of External Affairs said Modi’s participation at the summit of NAM Contact Group had underlined India’s longstanding commitment to the principles and values of the bloc as one of its leading founding-member.
Modi said India had provided medical supplies to 123 partner countries, including 59 members of NAM, notwithstanding its domestic requirement. “India’s civilisation 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.
The prime minister said the world needed 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 the 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,” the prime minister said.
Modi said NAM should call upon the international community and the World Health Organisation 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.
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 Adhanom Ghebreyesus were the other speakers on the occasion.
After 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.