US lauds 'true friend' India for gifting COVID-19 vaccine to several countries
Washington, Jan 23: Terming India a "true friend" which is using its pharmaceutical sector to help the global community, the US has applauded New Delhi for gifting COVID-19 vaccines to several countries. In the last few days, India has sent consignments of domestically produced coronavirus vaccines under grant assistance to Bhutan, Maldives, Nepal, Bangladesh, Myanmar, Mauritius and Seychelles.
It is also undertaking commercial supplies of the doses to a number of countries, including Saudi Arabia, South Africa, Brazil and Morocco. "We applaud India's role in global health, sharing millions of doses of COVID-19 vaccine in South Asia.
India's free shipments of vaccine began with Maldives, Bhutan, Bangladesh and Nepal and will extend to others," the South and Central Asia Bureau of the US State Department tweeted on Friday.
"India's a true friend using its pharma to help the global community," it said. Known as the 'pharmacy of the world', India produces 60 per cent of vaccines globally.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi had said that India's vaccine production and delivery capacity would be used for the benefit of all humanity in fighting the coronavirus crisis. House Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Gregory Meeks also commended India's support to its neighbouring countries to fight the pandemic.
"I commend India's efforts to help its neighbours by providing them with free COVID-19 vaccines. Global challenges like the pandemic require both regional and global solutions," Meeks said. The US media also praised India's support to the global community in this health crisis.
According to a Washington Post report, India is giving away millions of coronavirus vaccine doses as a tool of diplomacy. "The Indian government has sent free doses to Bangladesh, Nepal, Bhutan and Maldives - more than 3.2 million in total.
Donations to Mauritius, Myanmar and Seychelles are set to follow. Sri Lanka and Afghanistan are next on the list," it noted. "The shipments reflect one of India's unique strengths: It is home to a robust vaccine industry, including Serum Institute of India, one of the world's largest vaccine makers," the report said.
Meanwhile, India's Ambassador to the US, Taranjit Singh Sandhu, thanked the state department for recognising India's efforts to support the global community to combat the coronavirus pandemic.
Quoting Prime Minister Modi, he tweeted late Friday night, "India is deeply honoured to be a long-trusted partner in meeting the healthcare needs of the global community."