President Cyril Ramaphosa had a telephonic conversation with the Prime Minister of India, Mr Narendra Modi on Thursday and both discussed stronger ties and COVID-19, the presidency in South Africa said in a statement.
The telephone call follows the arrival in South Africa of the first batch of COVID-19 vaccines from the Serum Institute in India on Monday, February 1, 2020.
“During the call President Ramaphosa applauded the Government and people of India for its gift to the world in the form of vaccines and scientific knowledge. The President conveyed the profound gratitude expressed by the people of South Africa to India for its solidarity with South Africa in fighting the pandemic,” the presidency added.
It added: “The leaders shared their concern that the COVID-19 virus is mutating constantly and presenting more challenges and new waves in all countries.
“Prime Minister Modi indicated that India will be developing one or two more vaccines and that India will continue to support countries in Africa with a special package of vaccines. India will also support the COVAX facility – a joint initiative of The Vaccine Alliance and the World Health Organisation – with 13 million doses by the end of February 2021.
“The two leaders noted that there is growing support internationally for the proposal submitted by South Africa and India to the World Trade Organisation’s Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS) Council for a temporary waiver of certain TRIPS obligations. The waiver will make vaccines more affordable and enable local production.
“President Ramaphosa and Prime Minister Modi reflected on the strong bilateral relations between South Africa and India, highlighting the importance of the strategic partnership that exists between South Africa and India and reiterating, specifically, the importance of economic cooperation to address the devastating impact the pandemic had on the global economy.
“PM Modi commended the able leadership demonstrated in South Africa’s containment of the pandemic in the face of a continually mutating and highly transmissible virus.
“South Africa congratulates India on assuming a non-permanent seat on the United Nations Security Council. South Africa will work with India to address peace and security issues as part of building a better world.”