Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Tuesday said that India has “tried to walk the talk” with its limited resources while tackling the coronavirus pandemic. The prime minister made the comments during the inauguration of the sixth edition of the Raisina Dialogue, the global conference on geopolitics and geoeconomics.

“We have tried to protect our own 1.3 billion citizens from the pandemic,” Modi said, during the virtual address. “In our neighborhood, we have encouraged our coordinated regional response to the crisis. Last year, we shared medicines and protective equipment with over 150 countries.”

Modi said that “despite many constraints” India has sent Covid-19 vaccines to more than 80 countries, adding that the “supplies have been modest” in comparison to the demands. The pandemic also provided the opportunity to reshape the world order and “reorient our thinking”, he added.

The prime minister also questioned the reason for the outbreak of the coronavirus. “For over a year now, the best minds of our societies have been engaged in battling this pandemic,” he said. “All the governments of the world at all levels are trying to contain and control this pandemic. Why did it come to this? Is it perhaps because in the race of economic development the concern for welfare of humanity has been left behind?”

India is the second most-affected country due to Covid-19 after the United States. India’s overall tally of infections since the pandemic broke out in January 2020 is 1,36,89,453 and the toll is 1,71,058. As of Tuesday morning, India has 12.64 lakh active cases.

So far, at least 10 states – Kerala, Rajasthan, Andhra Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Haryana, Maharashtra, Odisha, Telangana, Punjab and Delhi – have reported vaccine shortages. Scarcity of vaccines during the second wave of the pandemic has forced some centres to turn away people.

Amid the surge in cases and demands to expand inoculation, the Drugs Controller General of India on Tuesday approved the emergency use of Russia’s Sputnik V vaccine. The government also fast-tracked emergency approvals for foreign-produced vaccines that have been cleared in other countries. The move will allow quicker access to other vaccines and pave the way for imports, the Centre said.

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