As vaccines gifted by India reached Kathmandu and Dhaka on Thursday, it was the culmination of a series of steps by the government to keep the focus on the immediate neighbourhood as the world struggled with a pandemic.
On Friday, a consignment containing 1.5 million doses of Covishield vaccines will reach Yangon. On Thursday, one million doses of vaccines landed in Nepal and 2 million doses landed in Dhaka. Except for Sri Lanka and Afghanistan (which have not yet given regulatory clearances), India has supplied the first doses of vaccines to almost all its immediate neighbours. Interestingly, Pakistan gave emergency authorisation to the AstraZeneca vaccine last week, but it’s not yet clear where it would source the vaccine from.
Beyond the immediate neighbourhood, India is also looking to provide Covid-19 vaccine to important defence and security partners in the Indian Ocean with a consignment of 100,000 doses likely to reach Mauritius, and another 50,000 doses to Seychelles, on Friday. India has already donated Covishield vaccine to Sri Lanka and Maldives.