Maldives President Ibrahim Mohamed Solih thanked Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Wednesday 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 on Wednesday.
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.
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 @narendramodi & EAM @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 praised the step 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 India’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.
The delivery of these vaccines in the Maldives 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.