Context:

  • India’s Foreign Secretary said that Medical and oxygen-related support is being worked out from at least 40 countries that will send items to help India deal with the pandemic’s second wave.
  • India is unlikely to resume its Vaccine Maitri programme for the neighbourhood, including Bangladesh, Nepal and Sri Lanka, until at least July 2021, given the sudden crunch in the availability of vaccines amidst a surge in COVID-19 cases, and the government’s plan for universal vaccination set to start on May 1.

Relevance:

GS-II: International Relations (India’s Neighbors, Foreign Policies and development affecting India’s Interests)

Dimensions of the Article:

  1. What is Vaccine Maitri?
  2. About the support to India from Foreign Countries

What is Vaccine Maitri?

  • India commenced its vaccine diplomacy (use of vaccines to increase a country’s diplomatic relationship with other countries) with the name “Vaccine Maitri” under its Neighborhood First policy.
  • Under Vaccine Maitri – India will supply Covid-19 vaccines which are Made in India to its neighboring and key partner countries under its Neighborhood First policy.
  • Bhutan and Maldives were set to be the first to get the vaccines followed by Bangladesh, Nepal, Myanmar and Seychelles. 
  • Sri Lanka, Afghanistan and Mauritius were also targeted for supplying vaccines following their necessary regulatory approvals.
  • Pakistan was the only neighboring country which was not named to get the vaccine. 

Earlier Diplomacy measures by India:

  • India had earlier supplied Hydroxychloroquine, Remdesivir and Paracetamol tablets as well as diagnostic kits, ventilators, masks, gloves and other medical supplies to a large number of countries during the pandemic.
  • Under the Partnerships for Accelerating Clinical Trials (PACT) programme, India has also provided training to several neighboring countries to enhance and strengthen their clinical capabilities. PACT programme implemented by Biotechnology Industry Research Assistance Council (BIRAC) and Clinical Development Services Agency (CDSA) under the aegis of the National Biopharma Mission and Ind-CEPI Mission of DBT, had been launched for supporting COVID-19 vaccine development activities in partnering countries.

About the support to India from Foreign Countries

  • The capacity-boosting supplies are expected to arrive in the coming days from Egypt, Uzbekistan, Bangladesh, apart from the big powers like Russia, the U.S. and Saudi Arabia.
  • India has got commitment of assistance from Europe, Gulf region and even further parts of the world, Australia, New Zealand and countries like Guyana which are located geographically further away.
  • Around over 550 oxygen generating plants being sourced from governments, community groups, corporates and private individuals are being brought.
  • While the large-scale support from the big powers is being flown in, important assistance is on the way also from the developing countries.
  • The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Bangladesh has announced 10,000 anti-viral vials, 30,000 PPE kits, and several thousand zinc, calcium, vitamin C and other necessary tablets that will be sent to India in the coming days.
  • From Egypt, Gilead Sciences has committed 4,50,000 doses of remdesivir to India.
  • A special cargo for medical aid including 157 ventilators, 480 BiPAPs and other medical supplies arrived from the UAE recently as well.
  • Three oxygen generation units will be sent from surplus stocks in Northern Ireland.

-Source: The Hindu

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