Amid the COVID-19 pandemic, several countries have undertaken what is being dubbed as "vaccine diplomacy". Over the last few months, India has made its mark as a member of the 'V5 club' that comprises five COVID-19 vaccine producing powers.
The country which has been inoculating people since January has two vaccines that are presently in use. Others are in various stages of the trial period and is expected to join the drive in the months to come. At the same time, India has sent vaccines to a slew of other countries to aid the battle against COVID-19.
The first tranche of vaccines were sent to neighbours including Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Nepal and Myanmar. This was followed by sending vaccines to Mauritius and Seychelles as well as other more distant nations. Till date, the country has sent Made-in India vaccines to 25 nations including the UK and Canada. Forty-nine more countries will be supplied in the coming days, ranging from Europe, Latin America and the Caribbean to Africa, South-East Asia and the Pacific Islands.
But even as External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar tweeted on Friday about the fact that '"made in India vaccines" had been delivered to London, business leader Anand Mahindra took to Twitter expressing consternation. Citing an English idiom, he questioned the wisdom of sending the UK a vaccine that was created there.
"The English idiom ‘carrying coals to Newcastle’ means doing something pointless, by shipping something to a place where it is already abundant. That should have been the case here since the vaccine was created in the U.K. But India is happy to be the world’s vaccine factory..." he wrote.