December 9, 2022

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India will provide tens millions COVID-19 vaccines to South Asian countries

India will provide tens millions COVID-19 vaccines to South Asian countries

 

India will provide tens millions COVID-19 vaccines to South Asian countries. 

[Global Times Special Correspondent in India Hu Bofeng] “The first shipment (COVID-19 vaccine) has been shipped to Bhutan!” The spokesperson of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of India Srivastava announced on the 20th through social media that India has begun to send to its 6 neighbors.

 

Countries and key partner countries to provide vaccines. This marks the official start of India’s “vaccine diplomacy” focusing on neighboring countries. Reuters reported on the 21st that India will provide at least millions of doses of the COVID-19 vaccine to countries in South Asia and “use vaccine diplomacy to counter China’s increasing influence in the region.” The report quoted an unnamed Indian government official as saying that India’s only two neighbors absent from the list of providing vaccines to neighboring countries: China and Pakistan.

According to reports, what India provided to neighboring countries was the Covishield Covidshield vaccine developed by the University of Oxford and AstraZeneca produced by the Serum Institute of India. Al Jazeera reported that India provided 1 million doses of vaccine to Nepal on the 21st. This move may help repair the previously strained bilateral relations due to border territorial disputes. On the same day, India also donated 2 million doses of COVID-19 vaccine to Bangladesh. Indian government sources said that India is considering providing a total of 12 to 20 million doses of n COVID-19 vaccine to neighboring countries in the next month. In addition, India is also helping some countries train medical workers. According to the report, the above-mentioned actions of the Indian government “may win the praise of neighboring countries.”

India’s TimesNow news network said on the 21st that “India has changed the direction of vaccine diplomacy to counter Chinese influence” and “New Delhi has repeatedly expressed its intention to assist neighboring countries and strengthen its geopolitical importance in the region”. “The Hindu” reported that when India focused its attention on “vaccine diplomacy” in South Asia, China was also trying to expand its influence in the region. Prior to this, Pakistan became the first country to officially approve the use of China’s COVID-19 vaccine, and Afghanistan, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, etc. may also become potential buyers of Chinese vaccines. The OPIndia news website stated that China and India have opened up a “new competitive battlefield” beyond the border confrontation. Reports belittle China’s vaccines as “the effectiveness is questionable”, and India is facing the challenge of the epidemic with the aura of “world pharmaceutical factory”.

Indian epidemiologist Sanji Kumar told the Global Times reporter that in the context of the current raging epidemic, the COVID-19 vaccine developed by any country should be regarded as a global public product, not a “tool for geo-competition” , “What is most needed between countries is cooperation, not confrontation.”

In India, vaccination is facing an awkward situation. According to Reuters, after India started vaccination, the vaccination campaign in almost all states failed to reach the target. Many front-line personnel refused to vaccinate, especially the Covaxin vaccine developed by Bharat Biotech. The side effects are not clear. A survey conducted by LocalCircles, an online platform in New Delhi, showed that 62% of the 17,000 respondents were unwilling to receive the vaccine immediately, mainly because of concerns about possible adverse reactions.

According to a report by the Associated Press, a building of the Serum Institute of India, known as the “world’s largest vaccine manufacturer”, located in Pune, Maharashtra, broke out on the 21st. At least 5 people have been found dead. It is a construction worker. However, the agency said that the burning building is a new expansion facility, and the n COVID-19 vaccine production will not be affected. The agency has been commissioned to produce 1 billion doses of AstraZeneca vaccine

 

(source:internet, reference only)


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