India, Russia and China have agreed in principle to formulate a working mechanism to facilitate cooperation in the field of health and medicine, and the three countries have launched initial consultations in this regard.

While taking ahead the proposal, made by China, the three sides have decided to hold internal consultations on formalizing a cooperation mechanism to take forward collaboration in identified areas. Each side will be designated a focal point in the near future for coordination in this regard. The representatives of the Ministries of Health of India, Russia and China met here recently to discuss trilateral cooperation in the health sector, according to the official sources.

"The parties reiterated their commitment in pursuance of the meeting of the Foreign Ministers of the People's Republic of China, the Russian Federation and the Republic of India held in Harbin, China in 2007 and resolved to enhance trilateral Cooperation in the field of health and medicine by pooling significant capabilities that exist in these three countries," a statement said.

The three countries exchanged information including collaboration strategies on infectious diseases such as AIDS, TB, Hep B, leprosy and malaria prevention and control thereof and the area of traditional medicines. The countries agreed to share experiences of the management and reforms of their health care systems. "Being large economies in transition, facing complexities of dealing with both non-communicable and communicable diseases, there exist commonalities among the three countries in terms of health-related challenges. Cooperation in the field of health and medicine will not only further strengthen their mutual ties but also help develop and expand national systems for delivering quality health care to citizens," the release said. They also agreed to trilateral consultations on cooperation in the field of health and medicine on an annual basis alternatively in India, Russia and China.