NEW DELHI: Thanks to his government’s COVID-19 diplomacy, Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s resolve to help the entire mankind fight the deadly coronavirus pandemic has won global recognition.
Due to Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s commitment to send millions of doses of the Indian manufactured Covid-19 vaccines to its neighbouring countries, and to those as far as the Middle East and South America, India has now become a new ‘vaccine superpower.’
Hailing New Delhi’s vaccine diplomacy, an editorial in the Wall Street Journal (WSJ) has said, “India has emerged the surprise leader of the global vaccine diplomacy race. It has exported three times more doses than it’s given its own citizens and can spare even more without hurting its own rollout.’’
The article penned by Eric Bellman quoted Chris Wood’s weekly note to investors in which he had said, “With Covid-19 cases in India now 88 per cent off their peak amid growing hopes of herd immunity, India looks right now Asia’s best post-Covid recovery story.’’
The article highlights how Covid-19 vaccines are increasingly becoming an “important form of diplomatic currency around the world’’ during the COVID-19 era. While China and Russia continue to marketing their own cheap anti-COVID vaccines along with the Western drugmakers, India, on the other hand, delivered on its promise of supplying the indigenously developed vaccines to countries in its neighborhood and beyond, the article stated.
Recalling the sight of the Indian Navy aircraft landing in the archipelago nation of Seychelles last month and the country’s foreign minister and other top officials lining up on the tarmac to welcome its precious cargo, the WSL article stated that it speaks volume about the success of India’s vaccine diplomacy.
It may be noted that India has provided as many as 50,000 doses of Indian-made AstraZeneca coronavirus vaccine to Seychelles last month. Importantly, just two weeks ahead of that, Seychelles received a separate shipment of 50,000 doses of China-manufactured Sinopharm coronavirus vaccine – a move by Beijing to make strategic inroads in a region long seen by India “as part of its sphere of influence,” the WSJ article said.
Hailing PM Narendra Modi’s vision, the article explained how India – a pharmaceutical giant that manufactured some 60% of global vaccines before the pandemic – has joined the global efforts in combating the COVID challenge and thus strengthened its ties and expanded its influence in its neighborhood and beyond.
This has come as a big setback for China, which has for several decades tried to derail New Delhi’s efforts to establish a military outpost in Seychelles that would India keep a tight vigil on Chinese naval and civilian vessels in the area.
With its global vaccine diplomacy, New Delhi has not only managed to thwart China’s intrusion in the region but also succeeded in building a network of coastal radar stations.
In recent times, India has 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.
“Keeping in view the domestic requirements of the phased rollout, India will continue to supply Covid-19 vaccines to partner countries over the coming weeks and months in a phased manner. It will be ensured that domestic manufacturers will have adequate stocks to meet domestic requirements while supplying abroad,” the MEA has said.
On the domestic front, India has so far managed to vaccinate some 2.8 million people since the nationwide vaccine rollout began on January 16 – one of the fastest in the world. Over the past few weeks, India dispatched over five million vaccine doses to countries including Bhutan, the Maldives, Bangladesh, Nepal, Myanmar, Seychelles, and Mauritius.