Amid the world's largest vaccination drive against coronavirus, India has stepped up equally to support its neighbouring countries. Of all the unimaginable things the pandemic has done, it has redefined international relations and turned the tables on the notions of developed and developing countries.
The rich countries may not always be fortunate while the developing nations could actually be advantageously placed, just as India is when it comes to Covid-19 vaccine production.
'True friend': US lauds India
As the US praised India for sending Covid-19 vaccines to other countries terming India a 'true friend,' there are reportedly 92 countries which have evinced interest in India's Vaccine Cooperation programme.
"There is interest in many countries in accessing vaccines from India which is the global hub for vaccine production," said philanthropist Bill Gates last year. With India assuring the world nations about enhancing its delivery capacity for the benefit of all humanity in fighting the crisis, there's more in the pipeline.
India plays the rescue ranger
A country of a billion-plus has enormous resources to match. As announced on January 19, India's grant assistance of vaccines to the neighbouring countries commenced on January 20. On the first day, 1.5 lakh doses of vaccine were supplied to Bhutan and 1 lakh doses to the Maldives as a part of the grant assistance. On the following day, supplies of 10 lakh doses were sent to Nepal and 20 lakh doses to Bangladesh. While on January 22, consignments of 15 lakh doses were packed off to Myanmar, another 50,000 doses reached Seychelles.
The countries waiting for Indian vaccine
In the queue to receive are neighbouring states of Sri Lanka and Afghanistan, where the supplies will be undertaken after receiving confirmation of regulatory clearances from them. Contractual supplies are also being undertaken to Saudi Arabia, South Africa, Brazil, Morocco, Bangladesh and Myanmar. That's not all. The quantity for the countries of Brazil and Morocco are 2 million each.
The domestic requirements phased roll out
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.
What about Pakistan?
Understandably, there is a lot of interest rather curiosity among Indian media on whether Pakistan has requested for India-made Covid vaccine? The official spokesperson briefed the media in a virtual meeting on India's Vaccine Cooperation, "There has been no formal request for the supply of Indian made vaccines to Pakistan on a G2G basis or commercial basis." As for India's response on supplying vaccine to Pakistan, he said, "The other part of the question is hypothetical at this stage and I would not like to respond."
15 India-made vaccines on the way
However, the Indian government in talks with foreign vaccine manufacturers for imports of Sputnik, Moderna or Pfizer vaccines though the details are not available. "Those details can be sought from the Ministry of Health, NEGVAC, the national empowered group on vaccines. At this stage not one but two made in India vaccines are in production, there are four vaccines in the active clinical trial stage, there are fifteen vaccines in the pre-clinical stages," said the spokesperson.