New Delhi: Prime Minister Narendra Modi during his meeting with the visiting UK Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab has called for an “ambitious and outcome-oriented 360-degree roadmap” as part of the 10-year plan that dominated the talks. The roadmap will focus on collaboration in all the sectors–from defence to trade to education to energy to climate.

The PM stressed an India-UK Partnership in a post-COVID world even as both sides announced a new virtual hub on the COVID vaccine. On his part, the UK Foreign secretary “signalled his ambition for a closer UK-India relationship as part of a wider UK focuses on our partnerships in the Indo-Pacific”, a statement by UK foreign office said.

The virtual hub that has been announced will have experts from both countries sharing best practices, regulatory approvals, efficient distribution of vaccines, and clinical trials. When it comes to the covid crisis, India’s Serum Institute will be producing over a billion doses of COVID vaccine developed by the UK’s Oxford University and AstraZeneca.

The UK Foreign Secretary during his second day of four-day India visit went to a Delhi health clinic where Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccines will be administered.

Raab said, “A global pandemic requires a global solution. Scientific cooperation has made breakthroughs on coronavirus vaccines at a record-breaking pace and the UK-India Vaccine Hub will now build on these innovations, to bring this crisis to an end and protect us all against future pandemics.”

A million doses of vaccines made by India’s Serum Institute will be distributed across the world under the global COVAX initiative, in partnership with the World Health Organization (WHO) and Gavi, the vaccine alliance. Amidst the pandemic, India has been able to reaffirm its position as the Pharmacy of the world and while it supplies 50 per cent of the world’s vaccine, it supplies 25 per cent of the UK’s National health service’s generic drugs.

The FS also met as India’s education minister Ramesh Pokhriyal and called India’s National Education Policy 2020 as visionary. Both sides are working on an agreement for mutual recognition of academic qualifications that will help in the internationalization of India’s higher education. An agreement has been signed between the University of Edinburgh and Gujarat to open a new biotechnology university in Gujarat in July 2021.

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