Foreign Secretary Harsh Vardhan Shringla said that that MEA is in discussions with major vaccine manufacturers like Pfizer, Johnson & Johnson, and Moderna about sourcing and possible local manufacturing of their vaccines in India. The country has also helped to expedite the introduction of Sputnik-V vaccines.
India is also working with several other countries in the World Trade Organisation (WTO) on a targeted and temporary waiver under The Agreement on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS) to ensure timely and secure access to vaccines for all.
Shringla was addressing the World Health Organisation (WHO)'s "South-East Asia Regional Health Partners' Forum on COVID-19 on Thursday (3 June).
Talking about the hurdles posed by the Covid-19 pandemic, Shringla said that "Challenges of this nature require a response at multiple levels. Nationally, it requires not just a whole-of-government approach but a whole-of-society approach. It also requires us to source solutions and capacities on a global basis."
Explaining the Ministry of External Affairs(MEA) efforts, Shringla said that a new vertical for pandemic diplomacy was created literally overnight to try and cope with a Black Swan event.
He also listed MEA's various missions abroad, such as 'Vande Bharat', various Humanitarian Assistance and Disaster Relief (HADR) operations with Rapid Response Teams to partner countries such as Kuwait, the Maldives, Mauritius and Comoros and with Mission SAGAR to the western Indian Ocean, Sudan, South Sudan, Djibouti, Eritrea, Vietnam and Cambodia.
India also supplied healthcare products to over 150 countries in the face of formidable logistical challenges.
He added that India is looking forward to WHO's approval for its indigenous vaccine manufactured by Bharat Biotech.