The Modi government is sending External Affairs Minister (EAM) Dr S Jaishankar to the United States next week in order to hold meetings with senior officials and Covid-19 vaccine manufacturers to seal deals for supplies of the same.
Indian Express sources indicating that Jaishankar’s visit will be aimed to persuade the USA to deliver as many vaccines as possible to India and neighbouring countries, which could include the likes of Bangladesh, Nepal, Maldives and Srilanka.
The EAM will be meeting the UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres, the US Secretary of State Antony Blinken along with other senior cabinet members of US President Joe Biden’s administration to hold discussions on this matter.
Moreover, he will also take part in two interactions with business forums on economic and Covid-related cooperation between India and America.
“We have, of course, noted the recent announcement by the US government of its intention to make some vaccines available to some other countries,” official spokesperson of the Ministry of External Affairs, Arindam Bagchi, had said on Thursday (20 May).
He added, “I would like to emphasise that all vaccines that may be procured from abroad would need to be as per our regulatory guidelines. I understand that the US has also indicated that any vaccines it sends abroad would be after obtaining FDA (Food and Drug Administration) clearance for product quality.”
Earlier this week, President Biden had declared that the US will be delivering a total of 80 million doses of AstraZeneca, Johnson & Johnson (J&J), Moderna and Pfizer-BioNTech’s Covid-19 vaccines to countries in need of the same by the end of June.
India is slated to be one of the beneficiaries of this initiative whereas the US Embassy’s Charge D’Affaires Daniel B Smith has also said that the western country is considering jointly producing the J&J Covid-19 vaccines in India.