‘Regressive activities’ like support to terrorism have increased worsening the socio-economic impact of COVID-19: India at UN

Despite the United Nations Secretary General’s call for a global ceasefire during the coronavirus pandemic, ‘regressive activities’ like support to terrorism and aggression have increased which have worsened the socio-economic impact of COVID-19, Indian Ambassador to United Nations, TS Tirumurti said, in an apparent dig at Pakistan.

Speaking at Joint Meeting of the Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) and the Peacebuilding Commission (PBC), Tirumurti on Thursday said that in order to foster global solidarity and response to the pandemic, at the very least, it is important that countries do not take advantage of the pandemic to encourage and support terrorism and aggression, and indulge in infodemic to divide societies and communities.

“However, in spite of the UN Secretary-General’s call for a ceasefire and while countries like India are trying our best to contribute to the global response to COVID, we see that such regressive activities have only increased, further worsening the socio-economic impact of COVID,” he said.

On March 23rd, Secretary-General Antonio Guterres issued an urgent appeal for a global ceasefire in all corners of the world to focus together on the true fight-defeating COVID-19.

The ambassador said that India has been at the forefront of fostering global solidarity and response to COVID pandemic.

“As the pandemic has raged across the world, India has not let that scale down our engagement with the rest of the world in the sphere of peacebuilding and the more immediate COVID response,” he said.

India has always strived to foster global solidarity across the world with our development partnership efforts fully respecting national priorities and ensuring that our assistance does not create indebtedness, the envoy said.

Earlier this year, responding to a call from UN Secretary-General, Tirumurti said India immediately deployed two medical teams at our peacekeeping hospital facilities at Goma, Congo for MONUSCO and Juba, South Sudan for UNMISS respectively.

India has also contributed to the “Pipeline to Peacekeeping Command Programme” with a specific focus on issues of conduct and discipline, he noted

“The peacekeeping related programme, over a period of three years, will help develop the capacity of future commanders and managers to lead by example and raise awareness of UN standards of conduct among their personnel,” he said.

“Peacebuilding has an important role in the conflict-sensitive response, which inter alia, should respond to the immediate requirements of our partners. In this context, India has immediately repositioned the focus of the US$ 150 million India-UN Development Partnership Fund to support COVID-19 pandemic related projects in developing countries, including in SIDS. The funds facilitated emergency procurement of ventilators and COVID-19 testing equipment, enhancing hospital capacities and supporting small businesses,” he added.

The envoy highlighted that India has extended medical-related assistance to more than 150 countries, pledged USD 15 million dollars to GAVI, and has operationalised the SAARC COVID-19 Emergency Fund with an initial contribution of USD 10 million.

“We have pledged to contribute the USD 1 million to ASEAN COVID Fund. India has activated its e-ITEC capacity-building network to deliver medical expertise content for the training of healthcare personnel of partnering developing countries. As the world’s largest vaccine producing country, Prime Minister Modi has pledged to deploy its vaccine production and delivery capacity to assist all humanity in fighting this crisis,” he said.

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