India which has consolidated its position as the ‘pharmacy of the world’ amid COVID-19 crisis by sending the Maldives 2400 vials of BCG vaccine. The dispatched supply of vaccines that has been gifted by India reaches the country today, just ahead of the dawn of the New Year. New Delhi ‘urgently dispatched’ the vaccine, administered to babies to prevent tuberculosis, to bridge a shortfall in the National Immunization Programme of the country.
The vaccines were procured by India’s Ministry of Health and Ministry of External Affairs and coordinated with Maldives High Commission in Delhi, Honorary Consul of the Maldives in Mumbai and the Maldivian Ministry of Foreign Affairs for the entire process.
A statement by the Indian high commission in the Maldives said, “India’s Neighbourhood First foreign policy has demonstrated time and again, willingness and ability to assist Maldives with speed and scale, in times of need.
“Under the leadership of PM Modi and President Solih, the India-Maldives bilateral partnership based on mutual respect, trust and understanding has been infused with renewed vigour for the benefit of our peoples,” the statement added.
Earlier this year in January, India sent 30,000 doses of the measles-Rubella vaccine. In 2020, as the covid pandemic wreaked the world, India has reached out the Maldives by sending a medical team and gifting 5.5 tonnes of essential medicines. Under the operation Sanjeevani, Indian Air force airlifted 6.3 tonnes of essential medicines and consumables from various cities in India in April 2020.
That time, Indian High commissioner to Maldives Sunjay Sudhir said the operation is a ‘growing example of India’s neighbourhood first policy and reciprocation of Maldives’ India first policy. Friendship in action!’
Another key focus has been capacity building with the training of Maldivian healthcare official. Additionally, under Mission Sagar one of the Indian Navy to reach out to countries with COVID aid, India sent food to 5 Indian ocean countries including the Maldives just before the onset of Ramzan.
In fact, India sent 600 tonnes of food items to the Maldives via Indian Naval Ship Kesari. The package includes 200 tonnes of rice, 140 tonnes of wheat flour, 120 tonnes of yellow dal, 80 tonnes of sugar, 26 tonnes of onions and 14 tonnes of Potato.
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