India, the pharmacy of the world, on Tuesday said it will provide COVID-19 vaccines under grant assistance to Bhutan, Maldives, Bangladesh, Nepal, Myanmar and Seychelles from Wednesday, and that shipments will be sent to Sri Lanka, Afghanistan and Mauritius as well on receipt of necessary regulatory clearances.
In a tweet, Prime Minister Narendra Modi said India is deeply honoured to be a “long-trusted” partner in meeting the healthcare needs of the global community and that supplies of the vaccines to several countries will commence on Wednesday, and more will follow in the days ahead.
The Ministry of External Affairs said India will supply COVID-19 vaccines to partner countries over the coming weeks and months in a phased manner keeping in view the domestic requirements.
Interestingly, most of the nations which are to get the vaccine are strategically very important to India. Sri Lanka, Bhutan, Maldives and Bangladesh have already had enough of China. Sri Lanka lost its Habantota port for 99 years to China as it was caught in China’s debt trap policy. Same is the case of Bangladesh, it lost its Chittagong port.
Bhutan and China’s Border dispute is well known to everybody. Maldives has already stated that it was with India in countering the growing influence of China in the Indian ocean Region.
Nepal shockingly, did not nod to Sinopharm’s vaccine but to India built Covishield. Nepal has taken a U-turn in its Foreign policy. It has backed India’s bid for permanent seat in UNSC, however this drew criticism from China. No doubt, high level visits done by Indian officials has caused this change.
MEA stated that “In response to these requests, and in keeping with India’s stated commitment to use India’s vaccine production and delivery capacity to help all of humanity fight the COVID pandemic, supplies under grant assistance to Bhutan, Maldives, Bangladesh, Nepal, Myanmar and Seychelles will begin from January 20,”.
“In respect of Sri Lanka, Afghanistan and Mauritius, we are awaiting their confirmation of necessary regulatory clearances,” MEA added.