Bill Gates, after a video conversation With Prime Minister Narendra Modi, thanked him for what he called the partnership to combat the coronavirus pandemic. India, said the billionaire philanthropist, could play a key role as the world worked to minimise social and economic impact from the pandemic.
"India's role is key as the world works to minimize social and economic impact, and pave the way to vaccine, testing, and treatment access for all," Bill Gates tweeted in reply to PM Modi's tweet sharing the details of their video chat on Thursday.
Thank you for the conversation and partnership, @narendramodi. Combating the pandemic requires global collaboration. India's role is key as the world works to minimize social and economic impact, and pave the way to vaccine, testing, and treatment access for all. @PMOIndia— Bill Gates (@BillGates) May 14, 2020
PM Modi had tweeted that issues ranging from India's efforts to fight Coronavirus and the work of the Bill Gates and Melinda Gates Foundation were discussed in the chat.
The meeting also featured discussions on the global response to COVID-19 and the importance of global coordination on scientific innovation and research and development to combat the pandemic. They also agreed that India should be included in the global discussions for coordinating responses to the pandemic.
PM Modi underlined the conscious approach that India has adopted in its fight against the health crisis - an approach based on ensuring public engagement through appropriate messaging. He explained how the "people-centric bottom-up approach" has helped win acceptability for physical distancing, respect for front-line workers, wearing of masks, maintaining proper hygiene, and respecting lockdown provisions.
The prime minister also highlighted how some of the previous developmental initiatives taken by the government such as expanding financial inclusion, strengthening last mile delivery of health services, popularising cleanliness and hygiene, drawing upon India's ayurvedic wisdom to enhance people's immunity, helped increase the effectiveness of India's response to the pandemic.
PM Modi appreciated the health related work being carried out by the Gates Foundation, not only in India but also in many other parts of the world, including for coordinating global response to COVID-19 and sought suggestions from Mr Gates on how India's capacities and capabilities could be better leveraged for the general benefit of the world.
Worldwide, over 300,000 have died of coronavirus since it surfaced in China late last year. There have been more than 4,403,714 officially recorded cases in 196 countries and territories, news agency AFP reported.
The United States has recorded the most deaths at 85,194. It is followed by Britain with 33,614, Italy with 31,368, France at 27,425 and Spain with 27,321.