NEW DELHI: India will continue to share its resources, experience and expertise with other countries to fight COVID-19 as even in the "darkest days" of the pandemic it did not lose sight of the fact that it lives in a global community, Foreign Secretary Harsh Vardhan Shringla said on Monday.
He was speaking at the 'CoWIN Global Conclave', where Prime Minister Narendra Modi offered CoWin, India's technological platform for its COVID-19 vaccination drive, to other countries. CoWIN can be adapted for health interventions across the world and India stands ready to make it available to its partners, the foreign secretary said.
"India has not, even in the darkest days of the pandemic, lost sight of the fact that we live in a global community. Our highest leadership has never lost sight of the fact that responsible global citizens help each other in difficult times," he said.
The virtual conclave was attended by senior government officials and participants from over 140 countries including representatives of the European Commission and UN offices in India.
A number of countries including Vietnam, Lao PDR, Cyprus, Croatia, Sierra Leone, Zambia, Maldives, Malawi and Guyana have shown interest in Co-WIN and it is also being offered to WHO's COVID Technology Access Pool (C-TAP), sources said.
Describing CoWIN as a pathbreaking digital platform, Shringla said it is about innovation, application of technology and skills and ultimately about "hope". "This path-breaking digital platform has allowed us to manage, in a user-friendly, easy-to-use, transparent, equitable and efficient manner, one of the most ambitious vaccination efforts globally ever," he said.
"It is a technology backbone, enabler and force-multiplier. More importantly, and in the tradition of India, it is an open platform available for sharing as a public good," the foreign secretary said.
He said that CoWIN is a platform India believes can be adapted and scaled up for health interventions across the globe. "We would like, through this event, to share our experience of developing and operating this platform. We stand ready to make the CoWIN platform available to our partner countries," he said.
Referring to the devastating second wave of the pandemic in India, Shringla said its partner countries have come forward to help and support it in its time of need. "We will continue to share our resources, experience and expertise with others, to the best of our abilities," Shringla said.
"I am happy to note that we have excellent international participation today. Close to 400 foreign participants from over 140 partner countries, besides representatives of the European Commission and UN Offices in India, are attending the conclave," Shringla said.
Health Minister of Bhutan Lyonpo Dechen Wangmo, Maldivian Health Minister Ahmed Naseem, Afghanistan's Minister for Public Health Wahid Majrooh, Guyana's Health Minister Frank C Anthony and Bangladesh's State Minister of ICT division Zunaid Ahmed Palak spoke at the conclave.
"Indian foreign policy and diplomacy, under the transformational vision of the prime minister, are strongly guided by the desire of India and of the Indian people to be a force for good in international affairs," Shringla said.
Sources said that several countries have shown interest in the adoption of Co-WIN platform. They said the Ministry of External Affairs will work with the National Health Authority for enabling the adaptation and adoption of the platform by the interested countries.
The conclave had an in-depth technical session on Co-WIN with presentations on the development and impact of the platform; its architecture; roadmap for sharing Co-WIN; and India's Digital Health Mission.