Ever since the coronavirus originated at Wuhan, China in December 2019, the world has come to a shocked inactivity impeding its growth. More than 96 million have been affected worldwide with 2.3 million deaths in last one year. As the world entered another year of pandemic, India, neighbour of China in Asia, has emerged as the saviour for many battered countries.
Soon after the pandemic, Indian scientists have focused on a variety of vaccines and successfully rolled out two of them – Covishield and Covaxin – manufactured by Pune-based serum Institute of India and Hyderabad-based Bharat Biotech.
Currently, the vaccines are being provided to frontline health workers in India, while huge cosignments are being shipped across the world to help other governments to join the fight against the coronavirus pandemic.
Most of these vaccines are being provided under grant assistance to several countries in South Asia such as Bangladesh, Nepal, Bhutan, Sri Lanka, Maldives, besides Brazil in South america. The Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) said New Delhi is also undertaking contractual supplies of coronavirus vaccines to Saudi Arabia, South Africa, Brazil, Morocco, Bangladesh and Myanmar.
"Keeping in view the domestic requirements of the phased rollout, India will continue to supply COVID-19 vaccines to partner countries over the coming weeks and months in a phased manner. It will be ensured that domestic manufacturers will have adequate stocks to meet domestic requirements while supplying abroad," MEA Spokesperson Anurag Srivastava said.
So far, India has sent free supplies of 1,50,000 doses of Covisheild vaccine to Bhutan and 1,00,000 doses to Maldives. Nepal received more than 10,00,000 doses while Bangladesh received 20,00,000 doses of Covishield vaccine. On Friday, India dispatched 1,00,000 doses of the Covishield vaccines to Mauritius, and 50,000 doses to Seychelles. Sri Lanka will receive the vaccine next week.
That's what friends are for: Jayashankar
Undertaking one of the massive exercise at global level on war-footing, Indian Minister of External Affairs Dr S. Jaishankar has succinctly put it: "That's what friends are for."
India has become the centre of world leaders' appreciation on its quick dispatch of vaccines from neighbouring South Asian countries to far off Brazil in Latin America. Earlier too, India had supplied hydroxychloroquine to the United States, while shipped paracetamol tablets, as well as diagnostic kits, ventilators, masks, gloves and other medical supplies to a large number of countries.
Maldives President Ibrahim Mohamed Solih said, "A short while ago, a flight from India with 1,00,000 doses of the CoviShield vaccine arrived in the Maldives, renewing our hopes for a resolution to the Covid 19 crisis soon. Our heartfelt thanks to PM Narendra Modi, government and people of India for this most generous gift".
Foreign Minister of Bhutan said, "Deeply grateful to India for its abiding friendship and unconditional support to Bhutan's fight against the Covid-19 pandemic." Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina thanked Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi for sending the vaccine as a grant to Bangladesh."I thank Prime Minister Narendra Modi for sending the vaccine as a gift," Hasina said, while addressing an online international conference on the 100th founding anniversary of the University of Dhaka.
Nepal Prime Minister K P Sharma Oli last week requested India to send vaccine while Sri Lankan President Gotabaya Rajapaksa had tweeted his congratulations to PM Narendra Modi "on the successful roll out of the Covid-19 vaccine and his generosity towards friendly neighbouring countries" and added,"We do not have to wait longer than the 27 of this month to receive a quantity of free vaccines from India." Afghanistan is likely to make regulatory clearance for the shipment from India next week.
On Friday, when India started commercial dispatches and sent two million doses each to Brazil and Morocco, the responsefrom Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro was unique. He said "Dhanyavaad" (thank you) to Modi and compared the massive operation undertaken by India to what Hanuman did to bring Sanjeevini in epic Ramayana. "Namaskar, Prime Minister Narendra Modi... Brazil is honoured to have a great partner to overcome a global obstacle. Thank you for helping us with vaccine exports from India to Brazil. Dhanyavaad!"
- Namaskar, Primeiro Ministro @narendramodi
- O Brasil sente-se honrado em ter um grande parceiro para superar um obstáculo global. Obrigado por nos auxiliar com as exportações de vacinas da Índia para o Brasil.
- Dhanyavaad! धनयवाद pic.twitter.com/OalUTnB5p8
— Jair M. Bolsonaro (@jairbolsonaro) January 22, 2021