India sends 6 lakh Covid vaccine doses to Sri Lanka and Bahrain


New Delhi, 5 February: India rolled out 600,000 doses of Covid-19 vaccines as grant assistance for Sri Lanka and Bahrain under its “Vaccine Maitri” initiative on Thursday, a day after Nepal and Myanmar launched their inoculation drives with made-in-India doses.

Two separate flights transported 500,000 doses to Sri Lanka and 100,000 doses to Bahrain as part of India’s plans to gift the AstraZeneca vaccine to friendly countries in the neighbourhood and key partners in other regions.

The supplies to Bahrain marked the first such aid to a country in West Asia, which India sees as part of its extended neighbourhood. Bahrain is home to 350,000 Indians, the largest expatriate community, and New Delhi had facilitated the travel of Indian medical professionals to Manama last year to cope with the pandemic.

The arrival of Indian-made vaccines in Colombo coincided with the celebration of Poya Day, which marks the first visit of the Buddha to Sri Lanka. Indian high commissioner Gopal Baglay offered prayers at Gangaramaya Temple for the well-being of the people of Sri Lanka and handed over the vaccines to President Gotabaya Rajapaksa.

The delivery fulfilled Modi’s commitment to his Sri Lankan counterpart Mahinda Rajapaksa, made at their virtual summit last September, for all possible support to address the health and economic impacts of the pandemic.

Since the launch of the Vaccine Maitri (Vaccine Friendship) initiative on January 20, India has gifted vaccines to Bhutan (150,000 doses), the Maldives (100,000 doses), Bangladesh (two million doses), Nepal (one million doses), Myanmar (1.5 million doses), Seychelles (50,000 doses), and Mauritius (100,000 doses).


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