India foremost in vaccine diplomacy, combines with ‘Quad’ to serve Indo-Pacific

India, in the last few months have secured a leading position for being the hub for vaccine diplomacy. Apart from operating world’s largest inoculation drive, India, at present is at the corner of manufacturing and exporting bulks of vaccine across the globe. According to the latest data, India till now has successfully exported Covid-19 vaccine among 71 countries. About 80.75 lakh doses are sent for free as a token of bilateral friendship, 165.24 lakh doses delivered through Covax mechanism, 70 lakh doses to Bangladesh under Maitri initiative and more than 339.67 lakh doses sent under commercial exchange.

The vaccine diplomacy has sanctioned enormous emphasis on India’s pharmaceutical sector. And as a result, the formation of ‘Quad’ that includes US, Japan, Australia and India has made a historic approach to initiate financial resources, manufacturing capabilities and logistics to elevate the distribution of COVID-19 vaccines in the Indo-Pacific region. Prime Minister Narendra Modi, American President Joe Biden, Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison and Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga, all attained the Quad summit on March 11, through video-conferencing and has confined to strengthen the emerging need of vaccines in the Indo-Pacific region.

Foreign secretary Harshvardhan Shringla while briefing the media after the summit stated that under the initiative, vaccines will be manufactured in India and financed by America and Japan, while Australia would assist in delivering. The Quad has aimed to produce a billion dose by 2022 in order to cover the entire Indo-Pacific region. Appreciating India’s role in providing vaccines throughout 71 countries, American President Joe Biden has directed that the group is important in building strong partnership through dedicated and practical solutions.

The vaccine initiative will now create more manufacturing growth in India, without hindering the existing ones to mitigate the demand across the Indo-Pacific. Union Minister Piyush Goel in the Rajya Sabha has described that India’s vaccine diplomacy is not only helping foreign countries but contributing revenues into the Indian economy. As per the statistical data drawn by Piyush Goel till February 8, paid exports of 1.05 crore doses were delivered worth ₹ 212.32 crores. Whereas, 62.7 lakh doses were sent for free, valued at ₹125.4 crores.

On March 2021, India has entered into the second phase of vaccination drive and untill now 2.9 crore of vaccine jabs are rolled out. The recent efficacy report published by Bharat Biotech on the use of Covaxin has also increased the demand for the indegeniously developed vaccine among the civilians and other countries.

Rituparna Dutta

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