India is playing the role as the "pharmacy of the world" during the COVID-19 pandemic with its vast experience and deep knowledge in medicine, setting the tone for many regional and global initiatives, said Shanghai Cooperation Organisation Secretary-General Vladimir Norov.
Norov in an interview told PTI that India has so far supplied medicines to 133 countries in the fight against COVID-19, which shows country's generosity, despite the fact that its government has taken urgent measures to prevent and treat the disease on a national scale.
This is a worthy and responsible example of the behaviour of a major power, and at the same time demonstrates the complementarity and mutual support of the SCO member states, he said.
Headquartered in Beijing, SCO is an eight-member economic and security bloc with China, Russia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan as the founding members. India and Pakistan were admitted into the grouping in 2017.
Norov also said that India's election to the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) for a non-permanent seat for the period of 2021-2022 is more than symbolic.
"I am sure that highly qualified scientists and medical professionals in India will take an active part in the efforts of the world community to study and research the coronavirus pandemic and develop a vaccine," Norov said.
"India plays the role of the 'pharmacy of the world' and in terms of a pandemic it is crucial in a global context," he said.
"India today sets the tone in many regional and global initiatives. It has a good reason for this: it relies on its vast experience and deep knowledge in the field of medicine and health management, including the production of high quality, affordable medicines, equipment and vaccines," said Norov who is also the former foreign minister of Uzbekistan.
"India has become the world's largest producer of generic medicines, accounting for 20 percent of the total global production, and meeting 62 percent of the global demand for vaccines," he said.
Norov said that taking into account India's commitment to international cooperation and solidarity, as well as its positive contribution to supporting the world's most important institutions of cooperation, he gives it a priority in efforts to reach a consensus on the central role of the UN and the World Health Organization (WHO).
He said that India has also played an active role in providing assistance to many countries, including the SCO member states, in the supply of medicines and essential drugs.
With India's accession into the SCO as a full member, new opportunities for further development and deepening of full-scale cooperation have opened up, the Secretary-General of the grouping said.
With inputs from PTI