During the Quadrilateral Security Dialogue (Quad) summit, India might push the US, Japan and Australia for waiving Intellectual Property Rights for vaccines. Prime Minister Narendra Modi will have a one-to-one meet with other members on the sidelines of the Quad summit in Washington DC, this week.
The five-day visit starting from September 22 will be the first foreign trip of PM Modi in six months.
“In the PMs independent bilaterals with the Quad leaders, as well as during other meetings between high-level officials, India will raise the issue of companies shifting their global supply chain from China to India,” a person close to the developments said as quoted by Money Control.
Other than focus on technological and security issues, India’s agenda will also include a significant amount of vaccine-related and economic issues as per the sources.
India wants a quick resolution on the country’s proposal to temporarily suspend global intellectual property rights for COVID-19 vaccine manufacturers, which has been blocked by rich economies.
Despite being first introduced in October 2020, the WTO’s powerful TRIPS Council had finally cleared India’s proposal for a further debate in June. But since all WTO actions are finally passed only by the full consensus of all member nations, vocal opposition by richer economies such as the European Union, United Kingdom and Switzerland has been a hurdle. The US, which had announced its backing of the proposal in May, has also been delaying its clearance.
Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS) agreement is considered as the most comprehensive multilateral agreement on intellectual property, which came into effect on January 1, 1995.
By suspending some provisions of this agreement, it will allow countries to overcome the legal challenges posed by patents for the timely provisioning of affordable medical products. As a result of this, a massive ramp-up in manufacturing is expected which can finally help in deliver vaccines to smaller, less-developed countries.
“The PM will aim to secure the support of Quad leaders on the issue and request their urgent help in convincing their allies and trade partners of the need to quickly roll out a global agreement that boosts vaccine availability for all people,” a senior official said as quoted by Money Control.
According to the New York Times, while vaccination rates have reached nearly 100 percent in most parts of West Europe and North America, it is only 9.7 percent in Africa and lowers in large parts of the Middle East. India has so far provided 60 crore individual shots to its citizens, but the number of Indians who are fully vaccinated stands at 20 crores or 22.2 percent of the population.