Around 2.5L doses of COVID vaccines sent by India reach Bhutan & Maldives
New Delhi: Bhutan and Maldives on Wednesday became the first two countries to receive COVID-19 vaccines from India under grants assistance in sync with its 'neighbourhood first' policy. It is learnt that two million doses of Covisheild vaccines, manufactured by the Serum Institute of India (SII), will reach Bangladesh on Thursday while one million doses will be supplied to Nepal.
On Wednesday, India sent 150,000 doses of Covisheild vaccines to Bhutan and 100,000 doses to the Maldives.
External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar shared on Twitter photos of the consignments reaching the two countries.
Bhutanese Foreign Minister Tandi Dorji thanked India for the "generous gift".
"Our profound gratitude to the GoI for the generous gift of 1,50,000 doses of Covishield vaccines that Bhutan received today. Deeply grateful to GoI for its abiding friendship and unconditional support to Bhutan's fight against the COVID-19 pandemic," he said on Twitter.
An AN-32 transport aircraft of the Indian Air Force transported the vaccines to Bhutan.
In a tweet, Maldivian President Ibrahim Mohamed Solih thanked Prime Minister Narendra Modi for the vaccines.
"A short while ago, a flight from India with a 100,000 doses of the CoviShield vaccine arrived in the Maldives, renewing our hopes for a resolution to the Covid 19 crisis soon. Our heartfelt thanks to PM @narendramodi," he said.
In a major announcement, India on Tuesday said it will send COVID-19 vaccines under grant assistance to Bhutan, Maldives, Bangladesh, Nepal, Myanmar and Seychelles from Wednesday and supplies to Sri Lanka, Afghanistan and Mauritius will commence after confirmation of necessary regulatory clearances. "Indian vaccines reach Maldives, reflects our special friendship," Jaishankar tweeted along with a photograph of the consignments reaching Maldives. India is one of the world's biggest drugmakers, and an increasing number of countries have already approached it for procuring the coronavirus vaccines.
On Tuesday, the Ministry of External Affairs said India will supply COVID-19 vaccines to partner countries over the coming weeks and months in a phased manner keeping in view the domestic requirements.
India has already rolled out a massive coronavirus vaccination drive under which two vaccines, Covishield and Covaxin, are being administered to frontline health workers across the country.