India, US to strengthen WHO, Harsh Vardhan discusses Covid surge with Becerra

New Delhi : Building upon lessons learned from the COVID-19, India and the US will work closely in the international arena, including strengthening of the World Health Organization.

Health and Family Welfare Minister Harsh Vardhan and US Human Services Secretary Xavier Becerra on Friday discussed the ongoing surge of COVID-19 cases in India, and Becerra reaffirmed US support to India in this time of crisis.

India-US relationship in health is one of the most successful aspects of the wider bilateral relationship, and continues to be a major link between the two nations, cutting across several sectors.

“Secretary Becerra and Minister Vardhan remarked that the U.S.-India bilateral cooperation on COVID-19, which builds on this strong foundation, has been crucial not only for the health of our two countries, but critical to the global response as well, ” said a readout of Becerra’s office.

Becerra expressed his deep gratitude to Vardhan for India’s help and generosity to the US in the early days of the pandemic, and expressed his pleasure that the US has been able to respond now in kind to support India in its time of need.

Minister Vardhan expressed his appreciation to Secretary Becerra for the recent US donation of urgently needed resources to battle the ongoing surge of cases.

Also on Friday, Principal State Department Spokesperson Jalina Porter said at a press briefing that “the United States is continuing to work closely with Indian officials and health experts to identify and respond to emerging trends in this ongoing crisis.”

Secretary Becerra noted the recent announcement of US support for a waiver of intellectual property rights for COVID-19 vaccines and future World Trade Organization negotiations. He thanked Minister Vardhan for India’s leadership on this important issue.

Knowing Vardhan is the chair of the WHO Executive Board, Becerra emphasized that the US “looks forward to working closely with India on WHO reform.”