Exactly a week ago, on March 4, Canada received the first consignment of 500,000 AstraZeneca's Made in India Covid-19 vaccine, CoviShield. The vaccine has been produced by the Pune-based Serum Institute of India.
Expressing his appreciation, Canadian PM Justin Trudeau thanked India and also gave due credit to India's pharmaceutical sector. In fact, he went to say that if the world managed to conquer Covid-19, that would be, "significantly because of India's tremendous pharmaceutical capacity."
Now, it seems the display of gratitude further continues with billboards having come up in the Greater Toronto Area thanking Prime Minister Narendra Modi for providing Covid-19 vaccines to Canada. The billboard reads, "Thank You India and PM Narendra Modi for providing Covid vaccine to Canada. Long Live Canada India friendship." At the bottom of the billboard is mentioned the Hindu Forum Canada, signifying they are behind the endeavour.
Earlier this month, the CEO of Serum Institute of India, Adar Poonawalla was quick to reciprocate his appreciation, "Dear Hon'ble PM@JustinTrudeau, I thank you for your warm words towards India and its vaccine industry." India will be sending another consignment of vaccines soon comprising 1.5 million more doses to Canada. Prime Minister Modi has also thanked PM Trudeau for his sentiments and appreciation. How many of such billboards have come up in total in the Toronto Area is not yet known.
Canada continues to battle Coronavirus crisis as on March 10, the country added another 3221 positive cases taking the total number of cases in Canada to 896,744 on Wednesday.
Netizens are divided
The debate ensues once again, some calling the gesture a diplomatic move, others classifying it as sycophancy and very many calling it a genuine move of appreciation. "When did PM Modi go to Canada to put up billboards in Toronto," jokes a user.
"It's his leadership and genuine benevolence that he is sharing with the world," wrote another. Many others correlated the billboard with Bollywood actor Akshay Kumar, since he holds a Canadian citizenship and launched a meme fest.