'Crisis explained that rise of India is good for world'
New Delhi: Foreign Secretary Harsh Vardhan Shringla on Tuesday said India will need to calibrate its external supplies of Coronavirus vaccines keeping in mind its domestic needs as the rise in COVID-19 cases highlighted the need for an accelerated vaccination programme.
In an address at the Ananta Aspen Centre, Shringla also said that the coronavirus crisis has demonstrated that the rise of India as a "self-reliant" partner is good for the world.
Delving into various aspects of vaccine supplies, the foreign secretary said that India is working with some of its partner countries to create secure, resilient and sustainable supply chains for itself and the world at large.
Shringla said that the number of vaccine doses shared with India's partner countries so far is about the same as the number India itself used in its domestic immunisation programme.
"The resurgence of COVID-19 cases has highlighted the need for an accelerated vaccination programme in our country, and from 1st April, we will be extending this facility to all our citizens above the age of 45 years," he said.
"Naturally, we will need to calibrate our external supplies keeping in mind our domestic production and domestic needs," he added.
India has supplied more than 60 million doses of Made-in-India vaccines to over 75 countries, including through COVAX which is a global initiative aimed at equitable access to COVID-19 vaccines.
The foreign secretary said that as health security and health supply chains move up on the priority lists of the world, the Indian pharmaceutical industry is perfectly poised to embrace the emerging opportunities.
"The COVID-19 crisis has demonstrated that the rise of India as an atmanirbhar (self-reliant) partner is good for the world. In this environment, we expect to see more global players cooperating with their Indian counterparts in the pharma and healthcare sectors," he said. "This is likely to go beyond shifting parts of supply chains to India. We expect to see collaborations, manufacturing and research and development tie-ups in this field," Shringla added.
He was speaking on the launch of a paper, titled 'India: The World's Pharmacy Expands Its Reach in Global Health'.