Vaccine inequality perpetuates existing inequalities: Foreign Minister

Minister of Foreign Affairs Abdulla Shahid has stated inequalities in the access to COVID-19 vaccines perpetuates the existing inequalities in the international system.

The foreign minister made the remarks while speaking at the Raisina Dialogue session entitled, “Beyond Covid: Public Health after the pandemic”. He was joined at the panel by Minister of Sports and Youth Affairs of Sri Lanka Namal Rajapaksa, Minister of State for Foreign Affairs of Bangladesh Shahriar Alam, and Senior Fellow, Health Initiative, at the Observer Research Foundation, Shoba Suri.

In his remarks, Minister Shahid highlighted that vaccine inequality results in perpetuating the existing inequalities in the international system, especially between the “haves” and the “have nots”. The minister also shared the Maldives experience with the COVID-19 pandemic, and the pathways to recovery adopted by the country. He highlighted the key role that the support of international partners played in building resilience against the pandemic, noting that “this Government firmly believes small States survive in an interconnected global economy, relying on the strength and closeness of their international partners”. In particular, he noted the exemplary support received from India, throughout the pandemic, and in recovery, including the establishment of the Air Travel Bubble between the Maldives and India, and the gifting of 200,000 doses of vaccines.

The Raisina Dialogue is an annual conference hosted by the Observer Research Foundation, in collaboration with the Ministry of External Affairs of India. Minister Shahid is participating in the Raisina Dialogue on the invitation of the President of the Observer Research Foundation Samir Saran.

The 2021 edition of the Raisina Dialogue is being held virtually from April 13-15, 2021, due to extenuating circumstances related to the COVID-19 pandemic.