Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Thursday spoke to the US Vice President Kamala Harris and expressed his appreciation for assurance of vaccine supplies to India as part of the US Strategy for Global Vaccine Sharing, under which India is expected to get the first batch of doses by the month-end. In a series of tweets, Modi said he also thanked Harris for all the support and solidarity from the US government, businesses and the Indian diaspora.
The call was initiated by the American side, top government sources said.
During the call, Harris stressed the Joe Biden administration’s efforts to ‘achieve broad global coverage, responding to surges and other urgent situations ad public health needs and helping as many countries as possible who requested vaccines’, according to Senior White House Advisor and Chief Spokesperson Symone Sanders.
Earlier, the Biden administration had unveiled a plan to share Covid-19 vaccines with the world, including its intent to direct 75 per cent of excess doses through the UN-backed COVAX global vaccine sharing program.
India is expecting to get a good chunk of these.
Thanking Harris, PM Modi said, “I deeply appreciate the assurance of vaccine supplies to India as part of the US Strategy for Global Vaccine Sharing. I also thanked her for all the support and solidarity from the US government, businesses and Indian diaspora.”
Modi and Harris also discussed ongoing efforts to further strengthen India-US vaccine cooperation, “and the potential of our partnership to contribute to post-Covid global health and economic recovery”, added the prime minister in his tweet.
The prime minister also expressed the hope to welcome Harris in India ‘soon after the normalisation of the global health situation’.
Apart from Modi, Harris also dialled President Andres Manuel López Obrador of Mexico, President Alejandro Giammattei of Guatemala, and Prime Minister Keith Rowley, Chairman of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM).
“The Vice President notified each of the leaders that the Biden-Harris Administration will begin sharing the first 25 million doses of COVID vaccines to their respective countries and others, as part of the Biden-Harris Administration’s framework for sharing at least 80 million vaccines globally by the end of June,” the White House said in a statement.
Last month, External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar- the first Indian Cabinet minister to visit the US under the Biden administration – had said that the Covid-19 pandemic and vaccines were one of the most important aspects of his discussions with top officials.
Jaishankar had met Secretary of State Antony Blinken, Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin, National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan, US Trade Representatives Katherine Tai and Director of National Intelligence Avril Haines over the course of his two-day visit. He also held meetings with top officials from about a dozen departments of the administration. He also spoke with co-chairs of the India Caucus, and Chairman and Ranking Member of the powerful House Foreign Affairs Committee.