Indian Ambassador to the United States, Taranjit Singh Sandhu on Thursday (local time) announced that India will be a big part of US President Joe Biden’s newly-launched Global Allocation Plan of 25 million COVID-19 vaccines to neighbours and partner countries.
US is set to allocate the first tranche of 25 million COVID-19 vaccines globally to address potential surges and the needs of the most vulnerable countries affected by the pandemic, including India.
In an exclusive interview to ANI, Sandhu said: “President Biden has announced today the Global Allocation Plan of 25 million vaccines. This is the first tranche out of total of 80 million vaccines announced earlier by the United States. The distribution is under two categories – A, through the Covaxin initiative, and B, directly to neighbours and partner countries.”
“Now, India will figure in both categories, and will get vaccines as per allocation under COVAX and direct supply. So first would be the COVAX initiative in which India is included in Asia. Second, through direct supply to neighbours and partner countries, that includes India, Korea, Canada, and Mexico,” he added
Sandhu further informed that the US has also announced the removal of the Defense Production Act, which means no more priority supply will now be required. This will furthers smoothen the supply chains for vaccine manufacturing, particularly for AstraZeneca and Novavax, he mentioned.
Earlier, Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Thursday had a telephonic conversation with US Vice President Kamala Harris wherein the latter apprised about America’s plan to share the first tranche of 25 million doses of COVID-19 vaccines to India and other countries.
Speaking on this, Sandhu told ANI that both leaders had a positive and warm conversation, while recalling that Harris was there during both the Quad initiative and climate change summits.
“Prime Minister thanked VP Kamala Harris for the assurance of vaccine supply to India. Prime Minister also appreciated the support and solidarity from the US government, industry, Congress, and diaspora,” he said.
He further said that Harris and PM Modi talked about efforts to further strengthen the India-US partnership in vaccines, and other areas of global health and economic recovery, also discussed further Quad initiatives, including in healthcare. PM Modi also invited Harris to visit India soon after the global health situation normalises.
“And I must point out here that this is in line with series of high-level engagements between India and the United States. There have been three phone calls by Prime Minister, with President Biden and two summits, QUAD and climate change in the first 100 days of Biden’s administration,” he further said.
The envoy also highlighted the comprehensive and successful visit of External Affairs Minister Jaishankar to the US and said that these developments are “reflective of the firm commitment of the political leadership of both India and the United States to work together in partnership on global issues”.
Out of the 25 million vaccines, approximately 7 million vaccine doses will be supplied to Asian countries including India, Nepal, Bangladesh and Pakistan. The White House also said that it will lift Defense Production Act ratings on the AstraZeneca, Novavax, and Sanofi COVID vaccines. This is important – DPA ratings give those manufacturers priority access to vaccine making supplies, at the expense of non-US producers. (ANI)