"Today, people of India are concerned whether this (UN) reform process will ever reach its logical conclusion. For how long will India be kept out of the decision-making structures of the United Nations?" asked Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi. (REUTERS/Adnan Abidi/File Photo)

NARENDRA MODI pledged at the United Nations on Saturday (26) that Indian vaccine production capacity would be made available globally to fight the pandemic as he pushed for greater role for India in the global body.

“As the largest vaccine-producing country of the world, I want to give one more assurance to the global community today,” the Indian prime minister said in a pre-recorded speech to the UN General Assembly. “India‘s vaccine production and delivery capacity will be used to help all humanity in fighting this crisis.”

Modi added that India was moving ahead with Phase 3 clinical trials — the large-scale trials considered the gold standard for determining safety and efficacy — and “will also help all countries enhance their cold chain and storage capacities for the delivery of vaccines”.

He had said in August that India was ready to mass produce Covid-19 vaccines when scientists gave the go-ahead.

The prime minister also reiterated India’s calls for reform of the UN and for the world’s second-most populous country to be given more influence within its framework.

“Over the last eight to nine months, the whole world has been battling the pandemic of the coronavirus. Where is the United Nations in this joint fight against the pandemic? Where is its effective response?” Modi asked.

India’s 1.3 billion people, he added, “have been waiting for a long time for the process for the reforms of the United Nations to get completed”.

“Today, people of India are concerned whether this reform process will ever reach its logical conclusion. For how long will India be kept out of the decision-making structures of the United Nations?”

India together with Norway, Ireland and Mexico will become a non-permanent member of the UN Security Council for a two-year term beginning on January 1, 2021. However, what New Delhi eyes is permanent membership — something which China has repeatedly opposed.

During the address, however, Modi steered clear of directly mentioning the border tussle with China, and Pakistan, despite Prime Minister Imran Khan having used his UN address to lambast India over Kashmir and the New Delhi government’s nationalist ideology.