New Delhi [India], March 17 (ANI): External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar on Wednesday said that India has provided medical supplies to 150 nations during the COVID-19 pandemic, out of which 82 were given as grants.
In a statement on the 'Vaccine Maitri' initiative in the Lok Sabha, Jaishankar said: "India supplied 150 nations with medicines, 82 of them as grants from India. As our production of masks, PPEs, and diagnostic kits grew, we made them available to other nations as well."
Under the 'Vaccine Maitri' initiative, India has been providing coronavirus vaccines to its neighbouring countries.
Jaishankar said under the 'Vaccine Maitr'i program, 72 countries were given vaccines including Maldives, Bhutan, Bangladesh, Nepal, Sri Lanka and Myanmar, as also Mauritius, Seychelles and Gulf nations.
"Vaccine Maitri began in the immediate neighbourhood, starting with the Maldives, Bhutan, Bangladesh, Nepal, Sri Lanka and Myanmar, as also Mauritius and Seychelles," he said, adding that the extended neighbourhood followed thereafter, especially the Gulf. To date, we have supplied 'Made in India' vaccines to 72 nations across geographies."
"In recent years, as democracy struck deep roots, we have found our own cultural expressions that define us in a diverse world. In fact, drawing from that heritage, we have become even stronger voices of international cooperation and solidarity. That is of course, in great demand at times of stress like the COVID pandemic," he said.
Jaishankar praised Prime Minister Narendra Modi's vision which has provided an over-arching framework to make India's goodwill meaningful in terms of practical initiatives and activities.
"We saw that too in critical negotiations of global importance like the Paris Agreement, where we had a key bridging role. Or indeed in the International Solar Alliance or the Coalition for Disaster Resilient Infrastructure, two notable initiatives envisioned by the Prime Minister," he said.
Jaishankar said that from the Caribbean to the Pacific Islands, the message is clear that the Prime Minister of India not only has the willingness to engage them personally but to back that up with concrete development programs. It is this outlook of human-centric global cooperation that is the driving force of Vaccine Maitri.
Our domestic vaccination program started in January 2021 and within a few days, we also started with our immediate neighbours, he added.
He also said that characteristic of India's culture was also extended to the Vande Bharat Mission. Starting from Wuhan, we brought back nationals of other countries while looking after our own.
He further said that as early as March 15, 2020, the Prime Minister took the initiative to hold a meeting of SAARC heads of government to fashion a regional response resulting in the SAARC COVID-19 Fund that supported the early exchanges on this issue.
"The ministry of external affairs conducted 14 e-ITEC courses in partnership with premier institutions like AIIMS and PGI Chandigarh" with 1,131 professional participants in it from 47 countries," he added. (ANI)