The first consignment of 1.5 lakh doses of the COVID-19 vaccine Covishield was dispatched from Mumbai's Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj International Airport to Thimphu in Bhutan on Wednesday.
According to news agency ANI, the consignment is scheduled to reach Thimphu today.
India has so far provided essential medicines and medical supplies, including paracetamol, hydroxychloroquine, PPEs, N95 masks, X-ray machines, and test kits, worth over Rs 2.8 crore to Bhutan. It has also entered into an "Air Travel Arrangement" or "Transport Bubble" agreement with Bhutan.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Tuesday had said India is honoured to be a long-trusted partner in meeting the healthcare needs of the global community.
"India is deeply honoured to be a long-trusted partner in meeting the healthcare needs of the global community. Supplies of Covid vaccines to several countries will commence tomorrow, and more will follow in the days ahead," the PM had tweeted.
India will begin dispatching COVID-19 vaccines being manufactured in the country to Bhutan, Maldives, Bangladesh, Nepal, Myanmar, and Seychelles from Wednesday. It is currently awaiting confirmation of necessary regulatory clearances for the supply of medicines to Sri Lanka, Afghanistan, and Mauritius.
The Ministry of External Affairs said in a release on Tuesday that the government has received several requests from neighbouring and key partner countries for supply of Indian-manufactured vaccines.
"In response to these requests, and in keeping with India's stated commitment to use India's vaccine production and delivery capacity to help all of humanity fight the Covid pandemic, supplies under grant assistance to Bhutan, Maldives, Bangladesh, Nepal, Myanmar and Seychelles will begin from January 20, 2021. In respect of Sri Lanka, Afghanistan and Mauritius, we are awaiting their confirmation of necessary regulatory clearances," the release said.
The ministry said that as part of an ongoing effort, India will continue to supply vaccines to countries all over the world. "This will be calibrated against domestic requirements and international demand and obligations, including under GAVI's Covax facility to developing countries."