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Press Release

Press Release on Gifting of Made in India Vaccine to GoM

India gifted 100,000 doses of the India-manufactured Covid-19 vaccine to the Maldives today to meet the immediate requirements of vaccinating healthcare workers, frontline workers and those with co-morbidities. In addition to the doses gifted today, India will also assist the Maldives in securing supplies of vaccines at affordable rates from Indian manufacturing companies. By delivering Covid vaccine within days of its rollout, India has once again demonstrated its willingness and ability to act as a First Responder to crises in the Maldives.

The consignment of vaccines was handed over to the Government of Maldives by High Commissioner Sunjay Sudhir in a special ceremony held at Male’ airport. In his speech on the occasion, High Commissioner highlighted that the gifting of vaccines to the Maldives honoured Prime Minister Modi’s commitment to use India’s vaccine production and delivery capacity for helping all of humanity in fighting the crisis. He emphasized that the fact that Maldives had received the vaccine within 96 hours of its country-wide rollout in India, highlighted the special place Maldives occupied in India’s Foreign Policy. It also bolstered India’s credentials as the first responder for the Maldives in times of emergency situations. He reiterated that the arrival of Covid-19 vaccines in the Maldives marked another milestone in our bilateral relations, which now served as a model in South Asia. High Commissioner was happy to note that with India’s support, Maldives would be able to launch the inoculation drive at such an early stage in the global fight against the pandemic. He hoped that the vaccine would help Maldives in saving lives, ameliorating suffering of Maldivian people and bringing the Maldivian economy back to normal.

Foreign Minister Abdulla Shahid and Health Minister Ahmed Naseem also spoke at the event. They thanked Prime Minister Modi, Foreign Minister Dr. S Jaishankar for the generous donation of Covid-19 vaccines to the Maldives which strengthened their hands in the fight against the Covid pandemic.

While inaugurating the world’s largest vaccination drive in India on January 16, 2021, PM Modi had said “Today, when we’ve developed our own vaccine, the world is looking at India with hope. As our vaccination drive will move forward, other countries of the world will benefit from it. India’s vaccine and our production capability must be used for human interest; this is our commitment.” President Ibu Solih tweeted his congratulations to PM Modi on the landmark programme to vaccinate India’s population against Covid-19. Foreign Secretary Harshvardhan Shringla, during his visit to the Maldives in November 2020, had assured that ‘whenever a vaccine is developed in India, we will share it with the Government of Maldives.’

In his last conversation with President Solih, PM Modi had assured that all possible Covid-related assistance would be provided to the people and to the Government of Maldives. The gifting of Covid-19 vaccines today fulfills the pledge made by our Prime Minister.

During this pandemic, the Governments of India and the Maldives worked in partnership to save lives, and ensure food, medical and other essential supplies to Maldivians. In September 2020, India extended a financial assistance package of USD 250 million to the Government of Maldives to tide over the economic crisis unleashed by the Covid pandemic.Both Governments worked to help over 3000 critically-ill Maldivians access healthcare in India, despite closure of India’s borders since March 2020. In December 2020, India supplied 2400 vials (10 doses each) of BCG vaccines to help the Maldives in its domestic immunization programme, and earlier in January 2020, India donated 30,000 doses of the Measles-Rubella vaccine to the Maldives to prevent a measles outbreak.

India and Maldives share unique and special relations honoured by time and nourished by cultural affinities. Our shared values of democracy and rule of law strengthen our bilateral partnership based on mutual trust and mutual respect. India’s Neighbourhood First policy and Maldives’ India First policy have worked in tandem, time and again in the past two years, to bring security and value to our peoples. Under the leadership of PM Modi and President Solih, our traditional ties have acquired a new vision and vigour. The arrival of the COVID-19 vaccines in the Maldives today, marks another milestone in our bilateral relations, that now serves as a model in South Asia.

(20 January 2021)

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