India is looking forward to working with the G7 on its infrastructure initiative in view of the convergence between the two sides on issues relating to connectivity, External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar said on Tuesday.
In its recent summit in the British seaside resort of Cornwall, the Group of Seven richest democracies unveiled the mega infrastructure plan which was seen as a counter to China's multi-trillion-dollar Belt and Road initiative.
Asked at a virtual conference about the plan by the G7 countries to develop infrastructure under its Build Back Better World (B3W) initiative, Jaishankar said India was looking forward to working with the bloc on it. At the same time, he listed India's development projects in a large number of countries and said New Delhi would continue with them.
The external affairs minister said India has a history of rolling out infrastructure projects but what it shared with the G7 is that "today it is important to have broad principles that such projects should be viable, they should be transparent, they should not contribute to debt, they should be environmentally friendly." "Most of all, they must be a priority of the community where they are located. So it is an area where we do feel that there is a lot of convergence with the G7 and we are looking forward to working with them. But, as I said we have a substantial portfolio of projects we have already done in the last years and which I expect to see us continue to do more in the coming years," he said. Jaishankar was speaking the Qatar Economic Forum.
In the G7 summit, leaders the US, France, Canada, Britain, Germany, Italy and Japan resolved to help the developing nations in carrying out infrastructure projects under the B3W initiative. Listing implementation of development projects abroad by India, Jaishankar said they were rolled out in as many as 62 countries.
"We have actually signed up to, I think, something close to about 630 projects and about half of them, 340, have actually been done," he said. India participated at the G7 summit as one of the four guest countries.
"When it comes to an issue like supply chains, I think there, we share with G7 the importance of having a more resilient and reliable supply chain. We also feel that we can also contribute to it by expanding our own manufacturing capabilities," the external affairs minister said. Replying to a question on COVID-19 vaccines, he scaling up of vaccine manufacturing by India is important for the whole world. He said the US and Europe need to step forward in the supply of raw materials if India has to ramp up its own production. Jaishankar said when India started production of the vaccines, it was living up to its obligation with Covax and even supplying the vaccines to some of its neighbouring countries as it genuinely believed that no one is "safe till everyone is safe". "Now when the second wave hit us, obviously we looked to purpose the deployment of the vaccines primarily at home but I am quite confident that as the production picks up again, we see ourselves playing a global role and it is important we have to do that," he said.
First Published: IST