It is evident that the country's pharmaceutical industry has become a global hit since India began facilitating the supply of COVID-19 vaccines to various countries around the world, including Canada.

It wasn't even expected that there would be talks between the two sides especially after Canadian ministers began supporting the agitating farmers outside the borders of Delhi and speaking against the policies of the Modi government.

To us, it may definitely seem that Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his Canadian counterpart Justin Trudeau have engaged in appreciation of each other just a day ago over the supply of Covid vaccines, but did you know that the two countries had been by each other's side ever since the partition.


Aid beyond the horror of partition

Seventy years ago, at a time when people were enduring the deadly aftermath of Britain's historic decision to relinquish the sub-continent and carve it into two new nations along religious lines, it was Canada who came as a relief to India and the people who sustained the bloodshed and communal violence with doses of penicillin.

The entire process of partition was marred by the outbreak of communal violence and a mass relocation of people. As per estimates, some 3.5 million Hindus and Sikhs fled Pakistan for India, while nearly five million Muslims fled India for Pakistan.

Concerned with the casualties due to both disease as well as violence, the Canadian Red Cross donated penicillin to its sister organizations in India.

According to a statement issued by Canada's Department of National Defence, the penicillin was flown to the United Kingdom by Trans Canada Airlines, where it was loaded into an RCAF aircraft.

On October 14, RCAF Dakota KN 665 left the United Kingdom carrying 139 cases of penicillin. After stopping in Karachi, Pakistan, where it off-loaded 47 cases, it flew on to New Delhi, India, where 92 cases were off-loaded, the statement said.

After the delivery of penicillin, the aircraft and its crew remained in India to assist the Canadian High Commissioner to plan to evacuate Canadian citizens due to the then-ongoing violence in the country.

India's vaccine diplomacy

Canadian PM Justin Trudeau
Canadian PM Justin TrudeauREUTERS

The recent supply of Covid-19 vaccines to Ottawa is, one, provided a good show wherein both India and Canada seemed to get around their recent tensions over farmers' protests, and second, strengthened the foreign diplomacy of the country more than ever.

"Was happy to receive a call from my friend Justin Trudeau. Assured him that India would do its best to facilitate supplies of COVID vaccines sought by Canada. We also agreed to continue collaborating on other important issues like Climate Change and the global economic recovery," Modi said in a tweet late on Wednesday.

Yesterday's statement from Trudeau further touched upon the note of their countries' respective efforts to fight the coronavirus pandemic and India's significant efforts in promoting vaccine production and supply, which have provided vital support to countries around the world.

Two organizations in India are manufacturing Covid-19 vaccines and the country is now supplying those doses to a number of countries worldwide, especially those in dire need of them, apart from inoculating Indians first.