The Republic of India has set an exemplary global example of providing free assistance in the form of COVID-19 vaccines under her foreign policy of “Neighbourhood First Approach”. She is reaching out to friends and partners in the region, to begin with, and beyond in due course. Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, Maldives, Mauritius, Myanmar, Nepal Seychelles and Sri Lanka will receive the first consignments.

Checkmating the Chinese

For years, India has somehow struggled to match the pace and the hard cash weight of predominantly Chinese investments in neighbouring countries such as Sri Lanka, Nepal and the Maldives. China has been building ports, roads, bridges, infrastructure and power stations as part of its Belt and Road Initiative and other economic corridors like CPEC (China Pakistan Economic Corridor) in India’s backyard. However, the distrust in Chinese vaccine and a global shortage of WHO-approved vaccine has made a soaring demand for vaccines in these tourism-dependent economies and this has offered Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s government a unique opportunity to claw back the lost ground and turn the tide of the pandemic in favour of the umbilical cord connection India shares in the entire Sub Continent. The care of neighbours is at the core and in a true spirit of unconditional support and cooperation.

Bangladesh has received the highest first wave of vaccines in the entire region which unequivocally demonstrates the deep-rooted resolve in respective governments’ commitment. It is also noteworthy that commercial exports of vaccines, especially in the neighbourhood, will first begin with Bangladesh receiving the same soon.

Bangladesh Vaccine delivery
MEA Twitter

India has committed to donate approximately anything from 12 million to 20 million shots to its neighbours in the first wave of free assistance over the next three to four weeks. However, from the start of the Covid19 crisis, India played a pivotal part in rescuing stranded citizens of all the neighbouring countries when the pandemic was raging like wildfire in the Middle Kingdom.

I thank Prime Minister Shri @narendramodi ji as well as the Government and people of India for the generous grant of one million doses of COVID vaccine to Nepal at this critical time when India is rolling out vaccination for it’s own people.

Prime Minister of Nepal K P Sharma Oli thanked India on behalf of Nepalese people.

India is also helping with health workers’ training in some of these countries and setting up the infrastructure to administer the shots. The approach is a well-crafted, calibrated series of actions and plays to India’s core strengths in science and pharmaceutical sectors. Since the pandemic’s advent, India has supplied lifesaving medication from Remdesivir to Hydroxychloroquine along with Paracetamol to meet global demands. Also providing the manufacture and supply of ventilators, personal protective equipment (PPE) and rapid COVID19 test kits bear testimony to the obligation to confront the virus with firm strength and determination.

Around 90 plus countries have already reached out to India for the COVID-19 vaccines. Several African, Latin American, Caribbean nations, Middle Eastern countries apart from some countries in Europe are waiting eagerly for the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine being made in India by Serum Institute of India (SII) to be delivered at an urgent basis.

Statistics

Bangladesh2,000,000 (2 Million) doses have reached Bangladesh.
Bhutan150,000 (Hundred fifty thousand) doses were delivered to Bhutan.
Myanmar1,500,000 (1.5 Million) doses are being ready for Myanmar.
Maldives100,000 (Hundred Thousand) doses are being ready for the Maldives.
Mauritius100,000 (Hundred thousand) doses have arrived at Mauritius.
Nepal1,000,000 (1 Million) doses are being ready for Nepal.
Seychelles50,000 (Fifty thousand) does have been sent to Seychelles.
AfghanistanUp to 10,000,000 (10 Million), doses are being ready but awaiting regulatory clearance.
Sri LankaUp to 5,000,000 (5 Million), doses are being ready but awaiting regulatory clearance
Neighbourhood First

Morocco 2,000,000 (2 Million) doses have been delivered to Morocco
Brazil2,000,000 (2 Million) doses have been delivered to Brazil after Brazil cancelled the Chinese vaccine due to high failure rate.
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External Affairs Minister of India Dr S. Jaishankar had tweet earlier confirming the delivery of Vaccines in Brazil.

MEA Twitter

Brazilian PM Jair M. Bolsonaro had expressed the gratitude of his people by tweeting the image of where Bhagwan Hanuman can be seen flying with the Vaccine doses to Brazil.

Namaskar, Prime Minister @narendramodi – 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! धनयवाद

Jair M Bolsonaro

This has touched the very core of the Indians because according to the ancient Hindu text Ramayana, Bhagwan Hanuman carried an entire mountain full of medicinal plants to Lanka present-day Sri Lanka when Bhagwan Rama’s brother Bhagwan Lakshman was wounded in battle.

There cannot be a price for life. Never the less as rightly referred to as the Pharmacy of the world, the vaccine will prove that perseverance in battling the perils of the planetary pandemic in a selfless, sturdy and sympathetic strategy will overcome.

Image Courtesy: MEA Twitter