NEW DELHI: External Affairs Minister (EAM) S Jaishankar on Wednesday said that India provided medical supplies and equipment to over 150 nations during the COVID-19 pandemic, many of them as grants, to deal with the serious issues confronting the world.
Addressing the 14th Annual Conference of Institute for National Security Studies, Israel, the EAM said, “Even as we have begun mass vaccination at home, Indian vaccine supplies to our immediate neighbours have started. This is expected to cover other partner countries in the coming days. The world can only benefit from a more collective effort to deal with the serious issues confronting us.”
Jaishankar said that combating pandemics will naturally dominate the global agenda in the coming days, adding that “As a country that provided during this pandemic medical supplies and equipment to more than 150 nations, many of them as grants, India supports greater coordination among responders.”
Talking about the new US administration (President Joe Biden), he said, “As a new administration takes office in Washington DC, it is natural that the world would reflect on the changes that it portends. Those following American politics would agree that its policies and initiatives will focus on rebuilding and revival.”
He said that the United States has been actively and continuously engaged in commitments abroad for almost two decades, adding that “Like the rest of the world, the US too has been coming to terms with the rebalancing of the global power distribution. This has been accelerating over the last decade and would probably continue.”
On the issue of climate change, EAM said, “Where climate change is concerned, an American return to upholding global commitments will be widely welcomed. India reflects both its own beliefs and world opinion today as it ramps up its renewable energy targets, expands its forest cover, enhances its bio-diversity and focuses on effective water utilisation.”
Over the changes induced by the pandemic, he added: “The world has also become far more digital, a transformation sharply accelerated by the Covid-19 pandemic. Opportunities for digitization come with their own vulnerabilities. These too are natural domains for greater international exchanges and cooperation.”
India’s gift reaches Sri Lanka
A consignment containing over 50,000 doses of ‘Made in India’ coronavirus vaccine reached Colombo on Thursday.
Taking to Twitter, Jaishankar said: “A dependable partner, a reliable friend. Made in India vaccines reach Sri Lanka now.”
After providing coronavirus vaccines to several countries including Bangladesh, Nepal and Maldives, India has established its position as a reliable partner in COVID-19 assistance by dispatching ‘Covishield’ vaccines to Bahrain and Sri Lanka.
The consignment of 50,400 doses of coronavirus vaccines is being provided by India as a gift to Sri Lanka under the Vaccine Maitri initiative.
This comes days after Sri Lanka’s drugs regulatory body — National Medicines Regulatory Authority (NMRA)–gave a go-ahead to Oxford Astrazeneca’s vaccine.
External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar visited Sri Lanka from January 5-7 upon the invitation of his Sri Lankan counterpart Dinesh Gunawardena. During the visit, Sri Lankan side requested India for urgent delivery of Covid vaccines. The supply of over 5 lakh vaccine doses is a fulfilment of that request.
The delivery of the COVID-19 vaccines to Sri Lanka is a fulfilment of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s commitment made to his Sri Lankan counterpart Mahinda Rajapaksa during the virtual bilateral summit held in September 2020 for all possible support to Sri Lanka for minimizing the health and economic impact of the pandemic.
Earlier, India supplied COVID-19 vaccines to neighbouring countries including Bhutan, Maldives, Nepal, Myanmar, Sri Lanka, Afghanistan and Bangladesh under the Neighbourhood First policy. (ANI)