Under mega Quad initiative, India to produce COVID-19 vaccines for Indo-Pacific region

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New Delhi, Mar 12 (PTI) In their first summit, the leaders of Quad countries on Friday decided to launch a mega vaccine initiative under which coronavirus vaccines will be produced in India for the Indo-Pacific region with financial assistance from the US and Japan while Australia will contribute in logistical aspects.

The Quad leaders also delved into the evolving situation in the Indo-Pacific and vowed to work unitedly for ensuring peace and stability in the region.

'A free and open Indo-Pacific is essential to each of our futures,' US President Joe Biden said in the meeting.

In his remarks, Prime Minister Narendra Modi said the Quad has come of age and its agenda covering areas like vaccines, climate change and emerging technologies makes it a force for global good.

Briefing reporters on the summit, Foreign Secretary Harsh Vardhan Shringla said it was decided that India's manufacturing capacity is something that is going to be leveraged to make US vaccines.

He said the financing for creation of additional capacities will come from the US and Japan while Australia will contribute to the last mile logistics and delivery issues. Australia will finance countries which are going to receive the vaccines.

'In today's context, it is one of the most important initiatives. We are talking about huge investments in creating additional vaccine capacities in India for exports to countries in the Indo-Pacific region for their betterment. We are talking about producing a billion doses of vaccines by the end of 2022,' he said.

He said the summit saw Quad leaders adopting a positive agenda focusing on contemporary issues such as vaccines, climate change and emerging technologies.

Shringla said the vaccine initiative is a special one which is designed pro-actively to mitigate the impact of COVID-19 among countries in the Indo-Pacific.

'India welcomes Quad vaccine initiatives as it recognises our own manufacturing capacities and capabilities,' he said.

Shringla said Friday's virtual summit has set a benchmark for Quad's future efforts in the interests of Indo-Pacific region. PTI MPB TIR TIR