New Delhi: India on Tuesday invited Pakistan’s diplomats for the phase-wise COVID-19 vaccination drive that is underway across the country. The invite to Pakistani diplomats to get inoculated was part of the government’s offer to the entire foreign diplomatic community based in Delhi. Also Read – Pakistan Approves Russian COVID-19 Vaccine Sputnik V For Emergency Use
However, Pakistan is yet to decide if its diplomats will take part in India’s vaccination drive. Also Read – India Supplying COVID-19 Vaccines to Neighbours, Other Countries But No Request From Pakistan
In the past, India has been reaching out to foreign diplomats over its vaccination drive and how it is dealing with the COVID-19 crisis. In December 2020, more than 50 foreign envoys were taken to Hyderabad to showcase India’s vaccine production centres at two biotech companies–Bharat Biotech and Biological E. During the one-day visit, the foreign envoys were briefed on India’s indigenous efforts for developing COVID-19 vaccines, conducting its clinical trials and manufacturing the shots.
The Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) said in a release, “India’s R&D facilities, manufacturing capacity, foreign collaborations, etc. in the fields of pharmaceuticals, including vaccine production, were highlighted…India is committed to partnering with all interested countries in vaccine-related efforts, in the service of humanity.”
In November 2020, foreign envoys were briefed on the action plan to deal with the COVID crisis by Foreign Secretary Harsh Shringla. Around 190 heads of diplomatic missions were present in the briefing that took place in Delhi’s Vigyan Bhawan.
India began its mega coronavirus vaccination drive on January 16 and so far over 41 lakh healthcare workers have been vaccinated in the first phase. This even as the country has gifted India-manufactured vaccines to more than ten countries in the region and many West Asian countries.
In the neighbourhood four countries–Nepal, Bangladesh, Maldives and Sri Lanka began their vaccination drive in last two weeks using India-manufactured and India gifted vaccines.
Meanwhile, Pakistan began its COVID-19 vaccination drive on Tuesday with Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan thanking China for sending 50,000 doses of COVID-19 vaccine Sinopharm.