NEW DELHI—India has started donating millions of doses of vaccine to its South Asian neighbors, using its position as a vaccine manufacturing hub to strengthen its ties in a region. “Supply under grant-in-aid from 20 January 2021, in keeping with India’s perceived commitment to use India’s vaccine production and distribution capacity to fight the Covid epidemic,” the Foreign Ministry said in its release.
India announced this week that it is giving a million doses of vaccine to Nepal, 2 million to Bangladesh, 100,000 to the Maldives, and 150,000 to Bhutan. It also plans to give 1.5 million doses to Myanmar and 50,000 doses to Seychelles as early as Friday, said government officials, and begin commercial exports of the two vaccines which have received emergency approval and are already being mass-produced in India.
When it comes to Sri Lanka, Afghanistan and Mauritius, India is still awaiting their confirmation of the necessary regulatory approval.
MEA stated, “India will continue to supply vaccines to countries around the world” and “it will be calibrated against domestic requirements and international demand and obligations, including gavi’s covax facility for developing countries.”
Indian PM Narendra Modi made the announcement and also said in a tweet, “India is honored as a long-trusted partner in meeting the health needs of the global community. The supply of Covid vaccines to many countries will start tomorrow. , And more will follow in the coming days. “
Beyond the delivery of vaccines, India is organizing training programs – covering administrative and operational aspects on Tuesday and Wednesday, for immunization managers, cold chain executives, communications officers and data managers from recipient countries. This is being done at both the national and provincial levels.
Foreign Minister Dr. S Jaishankar said, “India fulfills its commitment to deliver vaccines to humanity. Supplies to our neighbors will begin on January 20. The world’s pharmacy will deliver to overcome the COVID challenge.”
India has received requests from a dozen countries for the COVID vaccine. Last year, amid the epidemic, India sent hydroxychloroquine and paracetamol to 150 countries. India is also conducting several training courses for healthcare workers and administrators of partner countries under the Indian Technical and Economic Cooperation (ITEC) program.