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India's vaccine capacity will generate 1.1 billion doses for WHO-led COVAX scheme: FS Shringla

New Delhi: India has so far supplied about 230 lakh doses of vaccines against COVID-19 to friends and partners across the world and the country's vaccine capacity will generate another 1.1 billion doses for the WHO-led COVAX scheme that distributes them to developing countries, Foreign Secretary Harsh Vardhan Shringla said on Monday.

In his address to the Haryana Institute of Public Administration, Shringla also said India believes in the vision of an open, free, rules-based Indo-Pacific region supported by inclusive global and regional institutions that promote prosperous, stable and sovereign states on the basis of shared interests.

The concept of Vasudaiva Kutumbakam is central to India's civilisational ethos as "we believe that the universe is one", he said, asserting that this places upon "us the responsibility of being responsible global citizens".

"We put this teaching into practice during the pandemic. Vaccine Maitri, the global health diplomacy operation in which we have supplied vaccines - made in India - to nations across the world is a practical demonstration of our belief and our approach," Shringla said.

India is the largest producer of vaccines in the world with about 60 per cent of the global share and it has used these strengths not just to launch the world's largest vaccination drive in the country, but has also delivered on Prime Minister Narendra Modi's promise at the UN General Assembly to make Indian manufactured vaccines affordable and accessible to all of humanity, he said.

"We have so far supplied about 230 lakh doses of vaccines to friends and partners across the world. Indian vaccine capacities will generate another 1.1 billion doses for the WHO-led COVAX scheme that distributes them to developing countries across the world," the foreign secretary said.

The aim of COVAX is to accelerate the development and manufacture of COVID-19 vaccines, and to guarantee fair and equitable access for every country in the world.

Underlining that 'Vaccine Maitri' is not an isolated undertaking, Shringla said it takes place in the aftermath of another large operation to provide essential medicines and medical supplies to over 150 countries during the pandemic.

India has established its credentials as the pharmacy to the world during the crisis as medications such as Hydroxychloroquine and Paracetmol made in India were shipped to destinations across the world in daunting logistical circumstances imposed by lockdowns, he pointed out.

Noting that Indian rapid response teams were deployed in eight countries, Shringla said Indian naval vessels and air force airplanes delivered supplies along a wide arc to friends and partners.

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