New Delhi [India], March 17 (ANI): The Centre on Wednesday clarified that the supply of coronavirus vaccines abroad is based on the assessment of adequate availability in the country and that the supply is being done taking into account the requirements of India's vaccination program.
In a statement on 'Vaccine Maitri' initiative in the Rajya Sabha, External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar said that the government is guided by a determination to make a difference at a difficult moment for the global society in planning and executing 'Vaccine Maitri'.
Under the 'Vaccine Maitri' initiative, India has been providing coronavirus vaccines to its neighbouring countries.
India has so far supplied 594.35 lakh doses of 'Made in India' coronavirus vaccine to 72 countries. Out of this, 81.25 lakh doses are on a grant basis, according to the MEA website.
In the Upper House, Jaishankar said that the world can see that there is at least one major nation that truly believes in making vaccines accessible and affordable to others in dire need.
"Vaccine Maitri began in the immediate neighbourhood, starting with the Maldives, Bhutan, Bangladesh, Nepal, Sri Lanka and Myanmar, as also Mauritius and Seychelles. The extended neighbourhood followed thereafter, especially the Gulf. To date, we have supplied 'Made in India' vaccines to 72 nations across geographies," he said.
"The House should be aware that the supply of vaccines abroad is based on the assessment of adequate availability at home. This is continuously monitored and takes into account the requirements of our domestic vaccination program as it unfolds in different phases. An empowered committee oversees this entire process," he said.
On Tuesday, Union Health Minister Dr Harsh Vardhan said the Centre was "striking a sensible balance" in sending COVID-19 vaccines abroad.
Underlining that India has developed a reputation of being the first and reliable responder in the region in the last few years, Jaishankar said that the world sees not just the selfless outlook of India but also of the quality of our products and capabilities.
"The COVID-19 pandemic has been a test of fire for all of us. But I can confidently state that even in the midst of a global crisis, the Prime Minister's initiative of such deep friendship has raised India's standing and generated great international goodwill for us," he said.
"As our own production of masks, PPEs and diagnostic kits grew, we made them available to other nations as well. This generous approach, so characteristic of our 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 said. (ANI)