New Delhi: In a phone call with his Australian counterpart Scott Morrison, Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Friday sought Canberra's support for the initiative taken at the World Trade Organisation (WTO) by India and South Africa for global waiver on patent protection for COVID-19 vaccines. The two leaders agreed on the need to ensure "affordable and equitable access to vaccines and medicines" for containing COVID-19 globally. Taking to Twitter, Prime Minister Modi said: "Spoke with my friend @ScottMorrisonMP to thank him for Australia's solidarity and support for India's fight against the pandemic. We agreed on the importance of ensuring affordable and equitable access to vaccines and medicines, and discussed possible initiatives in this regard." During the phone call, PM Modi conveyed his appreciation for the "prompt and generous" support extended by the government and people of Australia for India's fight against the second wave of COVID-19, the Prime Minister's Office (PMO) said in a statement. "The two Leaders agreed on the need to ensure affordable and equitable access to vaccines and medicines for containing COVID globally. Prime Minister sought Australia's support for the initiative taken at the WTO by India and South Africa to seek a temporary waiver under TRIPS in this context," the statement read. In October last year, India and South Africa, along with 57 members of WTO proposed a waiver from certain provisions of the Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS) agreement for prevention, containment, and treatment of COVID-19. The WTO Agreement on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS) is a comprehensive multilateral agreement on intellectual property. During the call, PM Modi and Morrison also took note of the progress made in the India-Australia Comprehensive Strategic Partnership since the Virtual Summit held on June 4, 2020, and discussed ways to further strengthen cooperation and foster people-to-people ties. Apart from discussions on regional issues, the leaders reiterated the importance of working together for a rules-based international order and a free, open, and inclusive Indo-Pacific region, according to the statement. (ANI)
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