India has one of the best COVID-19 recovery rates in the world and helped over 150 countries amid the ongoing crisis, Prime Minister Narendra Modi said on Friday, as he delivered a virtual keynote address at this year's High-Level Segment of the UN Economic and Social Council session of the United Nations. Reiterating his call for reforming international organisations to reflect the current geopolitics of the world, PM Modi also said the COVID-19 pandemic provides a chance for the "rebirth and reform" of the United Nations which was originally born in the wake of Second World War.
Addressing the UN event via a video link, the Prime Minister said the 75th Anniversary of the founding of the UN is an opportunity to assess its role and relevance in today's world.
Since the UN now brings together 193 member countries and along with its membership, the expectations from the organisation have also grown, he said.
At the same time, multilateralism is facing many challenges, he said in the address - his first since India was overwhelmingly elected as a non-permanent member of the powerful Security Council last month.
"India firmly believes that the path to achieve sustainable peace and prosperity is through multilateralism...However, multilateralism needs to represent the reality of the contemporary world.
"Only reformed multilateralism with a reformed United Nations at its centre can meet the aspirations of humanity," PM Modi said.
Referring to the he COVID-19 pandemic, PM Modi said India has always prided itself as the first responder in the region - a friend in need.
"Be it earthquakes, cyclones or any other natural or man-made crisis, India has responded with speed and solidarity. In our joint fight against COVID, we have extended medical and other assistance to over 150 countries... We also helped create a SAARC COVID emergency fund in our neighbourhood," he said.
"The COVID-19 pandemic has severely tested the resilience of all nations. In India, we have tried to make the fight against the pandemic a people''s movement, by combining the efforts of government and society," he said.
Earlier in the day, the Union Health Ministry had said that less than 1.94 per cent of the 3.42 lakh active COVID-19 cases in India are in ICU, 0.35 per cent on ventilators and 2.81 per cent are on oxygen support, while the recovery rate has improved to 63.33 per cent.
However, with a record single-day surge of 34,956 cases, India's COVID-19 tally zoomed past 10 lakh on Friday, just three days after it crossed the nine-lakh mark, according to the Ministry's data.
(With inputs from PTI)