Vaccine diplomacy is also important to India
Eastern Times, New Delhi: India is ready to protect mankind with two covid-19 vaccines manufactured in India, Prime Minister Narendra Modi said on Saturday.
“India used to import PPE kits, masks, ventilator and testing kits from abroad. Now we export some of those items. Now our country is self-sufficient”, Modi told over a virtual conference on Saturday inaugurating the Pravasi Bharatiya Divas.
Oxford-AstraZeneca’s Covishield, produced by Pune’s Serum Institute and Covaxin developed by India Biotech in collaboration with the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR), using home-grown technology have recently received ‘emergency clearance’ in India.
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Zydus Cadilla vaccine is also undergoing clinical trials.
However, although the prime minister has spoken about protecting the mankind with two vaccines, the question is whether the citizens of the nation will be vaccinated against corona first or the vaccine will be sent to neighbouring countries and other friendly countries so that people there can be vaccinated at the same time. So far, no official announcement has been made by the Ministry of Health or the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
However, External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar said on Wednesday in Colombo, “We are now looking at post-Covid cooperation”. Expressing the attitude of Narendra Modi, Jaishankar said, “India thinks it has a duty to cooperate in the international arena”.
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Neighbouring countries like Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Nepal, Bhutan, Maldives, and Myanmar are looking forward to getting corona vaccines from India.
In recent times, relations between India and neighbouring countries have deteriorated or become strained for various reasons.
Amid such a situation, India has an opportunity to restore the relationship using vaccine-diplomacy as a very essential tool. The Centre wants to take advantage of it. In this case, the Modi government has to show a balance game. Hence, the Modi government has to maintain a balance between the two.
Jaishankar also added that it is important to vaccinate the country’s 138 crore people as it is to deliver the vaccines to friendly countries including the neighbours for the necessary humanitarian reasons and in the interest of diplomacy.