Maldivian Foreign Minister Abdulla Shahid Thursday hailed India for providing vaccines to other countries to combat the coronavirus pandemic, saying it was an example of how multilateralism and the idea of a “global village” should function.

Speaking at a session titled ‘Beyond Covid: Global Public Health after the Pandemic’ at the virtual Raisina Dialogue here, Shahid said the first and the foremost lesson learnt from the pandemic was of the importance of multilateralism and that “we are a global village and can’t live in isolation”.

“We need to unite our efforts to face these global challenges. The manner in which the international community came together in the face of the pandemic initially was commendable,” he said.

However, Shahid noted that as the pandemic dragged on and the vaccine roll out started, a bit of “fracture in the unity” has been observed in dealing with the challenge.

Lauding India for providing vaccines to other countries, he said India has given hope to the international community by becoming an example of how multilateralism and a global village should function.

“The manner in which India has rolled out its vaccination programme, not only in India itself, but also how it has opened its arms and heart to the world in providing vaccines was commendable and exemplary,” said Shahid, who is on a two-day visit to India.

Sri Lanka’s Minister of Sports and Youth Affairs Namal Rajapaksa and Bangladesh’s Minister of State for Foreign Affairs Shahriar Alam also hailed India for its vaccine rollout and asserted that a human-centric approach in dealing with the pandemic was the need of the hour.

Shahid, Alam and Rajapaksa also emphasized on equitable access to COVID-19 vaccines for smaller countries.

Organised by the Observer Research Foundation (ORF), a think-tank, in partnership with the MEA, Raisina Dialogue is India’s premier conference on geopolitics and geo-economics, and its sixth edition is being held from April 13 to 16. PTI ASK TIR TIR

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