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India to produce 5 billion vaccine doses by end of next year to help world fight Covid, PM tells G20

India is ready to produce over 5 billion Covid-19 vaccine doses by the end of next year to help the world in the fight against the pandemic, Prime Minister Narendra Modi said at a G-20 Summit session in Rome on Saturday.

Addressing the session on "global economy and global health," the Prime Minister also flagged the issue of facilitating international travel and talked about the mechanism of mutual recognition of vaccine certification as a means of achieving this, Foreign Secretary Harsh Vardhan Shringla told journalists in his briefing on PM Modi's engagements.

On the issue of tax reform, Prime Minister Modi expressed satisfaction over the G20's decision to come up with a 15 per cent minimum corporate tax to make the global financial architecture more "just and fair".

The decision is aimed at ensuring that big corporates pay a certain amount of tax in countries they are located in, Mr Shringla said.

"It is pertinent to mention that it was in 2014 that the prime minister had first proposed the idea of a minimum corporate tax in order to prevent evasion of taxes," he said.

The Prime Minister also pointed out that the WHO approval for the emergency use authorisation for Covaxin, India's indigenous vaccine, is still pending, and suggested that approval for the doses would help India assist other countries.

A technical advisory group of the UN health agency will meet on November 3 to conduct a final "risk-benefit assessment" for Emergency Use Listing of Covaxin.

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PM Modi highlighted India's role in providing medical supplies to over 150 countries and its contribution in maintaining the global supply chain during the coronavirus pandemic.

Stressing on the need for resilient global supply chains, Prime Minister Modi spoke about India's bold economic reforms and invited G20 nations to make India their partner in economic recovery and supply chain diversification.

The prime minister also spoke about our vision of 'One Earth, One Health'" which is essentially the need for a collaborative approach in the international domain to fight against the coronavirus pandemic, Shringla said.

This involves collaboration in research and development, collaboration across the board in developing mechanisms that can cope with future pandemics and future global health issues," Mr Shringla said.

The concept of 'One Earth, One Health' is something that was enunciated by the prime minister and was well received by G20 leaders because this is something that is very important to the international community as "we are looking at comprehensive global solutions" that can address issues and problems such as inequities and problems that developing countries face, he explained.

Prime Minister Modi also brought out the fact that despite challenges, India continued to be a trusted partner in the context of reliable supply chains during the pandemic.

The prime minister conveyed that India has not only administered one billion doses but more importantly "we are ready to produce over 5 billion vaccine doses by the end of next year", Mr Shringla said.

"This obviously will be available not only for our citizens but the rest of the world and that this is our own contribution to reducing…vaccine inequities, especially in the developing world," he said.

Prime Minister Modi also emphasized on vaccine research and manufacturing, Mr Shringla said.