New Delhi: Bhutan Prime Minister Dr Lotay Tshering on Saturday congratulated India for what he said
"the landmark launch of nationwide COVID-19 vaccination drive" and wished good health to his Indian
counterpart Narendra Modi and the common people of India.
"I would like to congratulate Prime Minister Narendra Modi and the people of India for the landmark launch of nationwide COVID-19 vaccination drive today," he said in a Facebook posting.
"We send prayers for the good health and well being of Your Excellency and the people of India," he wrote.
"In this pursuit of securing and distributing the vaccine of an impressive magnitude, Your Excellency (Modi) has displayed profound and compassionate leadership. We hope it comes as an answer to pacify all the sufferings we have endured this pandemic," the Bhutanese PM said.
Bhutan too has sought one million doses of the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine.
Prime Minister Modi has thanked Bhutanese Prime Minister for his missive and using the hashtag #LargestVaccineDrive, Mr Modi tweeted: "Thank you @PMBhutan! A vaccine, which was earlier believed to be impossible in such a short time period has become a reality thanks to efforts of our scientists, doctors and innovators".
"India is ready to do everything possible for a healthy planet," he assured.
Another key Indian neighbour and Himalayan nation, Nepal, has requested for early provision of supply of covid19 vaccines. This was conveyed by the Nepali delegation led by the visiting Nepal Foreign Minister Pradeep Kumar Gyawali at the sixth meeting of the India-Nepal Joint Commission on Friday.
The meeting was co-chaired by External Affairs Minister Dr S Jaishankar and his Nepal counterpart Gyawali. Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, Myanmar and Seychelles are also seeking vaccines made in India.
Ministry of External Affairs spokesperson Anurag Srivastava has said: "India sees international cooperation in this field, particularly with its neighbours, as its duty. As we roll out vaccines, prime minister’s announcement that India’s vaccine production and delivery capacity would be used for the benefit of all humanity in fighting this crisis needs to be noted.”
Bahrain, Qatar, Morocco, South Africa, Saudi Arabia and South Korea are also keen for vaccines from India.
With regard providing the vaccination against the pandemic to Sri Lanka, External Affairs Minister Dr S Jaishankar has said - “As PM Modi has said, India sees international cooperation in this area as its duty”.
MEA spokesman Anurag Srivastava told reporters earlier this week in New Delhi that "Prime Minister (Modi) has already stated that India's vaccine production and delivery capacity would be used for the benefit of all humanity in fighting this crisis.....It is too early to give a specific response on the supplies to other countries as we are still assessing production schedules and availability to take decisions in this regard. This may take some time".
Bangladesh's ruling party Awami League's twitter handle endorsed MEA spokesman's message and said, "In line with #India’s Neighbourhood First Policy, neighbouring countries will receive Indian #vaccines
on a #priority basis…among neighbours, #Bangladesh will certainly get first priority".
India's 'Neighbourhood First Policy' along with vaccine diplomacy has been doing the round at a time when a recent Brazilian study claimed that China's CoronaVac vaccine is not as effective as was touted by Beijing and is certainly not the miracle COVID-19 vaccine.
Meanwhile, amid apprehensions expressed by certain quarters, Hyderabad-based Bharat Biotech has said that the company will pay compensation to recipients in case of any serious adverse effects experienced after receiving the antidote.