Modi-BoJo virtual summit: SII to make vaccine in Britain

New Delhi

Pune-based Serum Institute of India’s plans to manufacture vaccines in the UK was conveyed to PM Modi by none other than the his British counterpart Boris Johnson at the India-UK virtual summit on Tuesday.

Headed by chief executive officer Adar Poonawala, the SII is the world’s largest vaccine maker by volume, and has led in producing the lower-cost AstraZeneca coronavirus shot. The institute makes 60-70 million doses a month, and is aiming for 100 million doses by July.

Johnson’s Downing Street office said the £240 million ($334 million) project would include a sales office, “clinical trials, research and development and possibly manufacturing of vaccines”.

“The sales office is expected to generate business wor­th over £1 billion, £200 million of which will be invested in the UK. Serum’s investment will support clinical trials, research and development and possibly manufacturing of vaccines,” said the Downing Street statement.

“The Serum investment will support clinical trials, research and development, and possibly manufacturing of vaccines. Serum has already started phase one trials in the UK of a one-dose nasal vaccine for coronavirus, in partnership with Codagenix INC,” the statement said.

About SII talking of Covishield manufacturing in the UK, Sandeep Chakravarty, joint secretary (Europe West division, MEA) told a special briefing on the India-UK virtual summit, “Vaccine is of course an important area of bilateral discussion. UK Prime Minister Johnson did mention and informed PM Modi SII is investing in UK and will be manufacturing vaccines here and referred to research and collaboration on the nasal vaccines. PM Johnson said the Covishield vaccine manufactured in Whales is actually bottled by an Indian firm from Mumbai, Workh­ardt. India is the second largest investor in UK. So, these investment proposals are actually part of the normal interaction between the two countries.

MEA spokesperson Arindam Bagchi on if the authorities will look into threatening phone calls received by Aadar Poonawala but spared his colleague the trouble to answer it "given the nature of the query."

The MEA described the India-UK virtual summit as an important milestone with a roadmap to transform India-UK relations to a comprehensive strategic partnership and boost cooperation in key areas, including defe­n­ce, security, trade and healthcare and a commitment to double the bilateral trade by 2030.

Sandeep Chakravarty said Modi thanked PM Johnson for the prompt medical assistance provided by the UK.

PM proposed joint centre of excellence on green hydrogen, which was also accepted. An MoU was signed at the virtual meet; 2 of the 9 MoUs relate to Pharmacopoeial Cooperation between the Indian Pharmacopoeia Commission and the British Pharmacopoeia and in the field of medical products regulation between the UK’s Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency and India’s Central Drugs Standard Control Organisation.

If the extradition of fugitives — Vijay Mallay and Nirav Modi — was discussed, the MEA said they discussed extradition of economic offenders. During the meet PM Modi said economic offenders should be sent back to India at earliest for trial.

Modi-BoJo virtual summit: SII to make vaccine in Britain

Jaishankar, Priti Patel ink Migration, Mobility Partnership agreement

Jaishankar, Priti Patel ink Migration, Mobility Partnership agreement

External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar met British Home Secretary Priti Patel in London on Tuesday to sign a “landmark” new Migration and Mobility Partnership Agreement, which he said would strengthen the "living bridge" between the two countries.

According to the UK Home Office, the new agreement will lead to a bespoke route for young professionals aged 18-30 years from either country to work and live in the other country for up to 24 months under a professional and cultural exchange programme. It also covers enhanced and accelerated processes to return Indian nationals with no legal right to stay in the UK and vice versa, and ensure greater cooperation around organised immigration crime. "A fruitful meeting this morning with Home Secretary Priti Patel. Signed the Migration and Mobility Partnership Agreement that would facilitate legal travel and encourage talent flows," Jaishankar tweeted alongside images of his meeting with the British Indian Cabinet minister. "The living bridge between India and UK will get stronger as a result," he said.

"This landmark agreement with our close partners in the government of India will provide new opportunities to thousands of young people in the UK and India seeking to live, work and experience each other's cultures," said Patel. "This agreement will also ensure that the British government can remove those with no right to be in the UK more easily and crack down on those abusing our system," she said.

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