Fri, 26 Feb 2021

Male [Maldives], January 20 (ANI): The Maldives on Wednesday thanked India for providing a consignment of 100,000 doses of Covishield vaccines.

India dispatched the first consignment of 100,000 doses of Covishield vaccines from Mumbai's Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj International Airport to Male today.

Taking to Twitter, Maldives President Ibrahim Mohamed Solih thanked Prime Minister Narendra Modi and India for the gift, saying that it renewed hopes for a quick resolution of the COVID-19 crisis.

A short while ago, a flight from India with 100,000 doses of the Covishield vaccine arrived in the Maldives, renewing our hopes for a resolution to the Covid-19 crisis soon. Our heartfelt thanks to PM @narendramodi, government and people of India for this most generous gift," he tweeted.

Maldives Foreign Minister Abdulla Shahid also extended appreciation for PM Modi and External Affairs Minister (EAM) S Jaishankar for addressing the needs of India's neighbours and added that India remained strong by the Maldives' side.

"The Maldives extends deep and profound appreciation to PM @narendramodiEAM @DrSJaishankar for their commitment to address the needs of India's neighbours, and for its special regard for the Maldives, at all times," Shahid tweeted.

"Maldives is happy to receive as grant, 100,000 doses of Covishield developed by Serum Institute of India, among the first countries to receive vaccines from India. As always, India stands strong and steadfast, by our side, as first responder in any crisis," the Maldives FM said in another tweet.

Former Maldives President Mohamed Nasheed also heaped praise on the occasion on Twitter.

"A wonderful sight: 100,000 doses of AstraZeneca-Oxford University vaccine, made by the Serum Institute of India under the brandname 'Covishield', arrives in Maldives. Serum Institute is world's biggest vaccine maker, producing vaccines for Polio, Diphtheria, Tetanus, BCG, etc," he said.

Maldives (along with Bhutan) has become the first recipient of GoI's gift of the Covishield vaccines, manufactured by the Serum Institute of India (SII).

India's vaccine diplomacy is yet another testament to its Neighbourhood First policy, in which the Maldives occupies a special and central place. This is reciprocated in full measure by the 'India First' policy of the Government of Maldives. PM Modi during his visit to the Maldives in June 2019 rightly said 'Neighbourhood First is our priority, and in the Neighbourhood Maldives is a priority'.

The delivery of these vaccines in the Maldives today fulfils the commitment made by Foreign Secretary during his visit to the Maldives in November 2020 when he announced that as a close partner and friend, India would accord priority to the Maldives for providing vaccines, whenever these vaccines are ready.

Since the Maldives has a population of about 500,000, the donation will cover the vaccination requirement of a significant percentage of the population. In addition, GoM proposes to purchase 300,000 doses of vaccines from SII at commercial rates. (ANI)

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