Sun, 28 Feb 2021

New Delhi [India], January 20 (ANI): The consignments of COVID-19 vaccines reaching Bhutan and the Maldives exemplify India's friendship with the two neighbouring countries and reflect Neighbourhood First policy, External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar said on Wednesday.

"VaccineMaitri begins. Consignment arrives in Bhutan. Another example of NeighbourhoodFirst," he said in a tweet.

"Indian vaccines reach Maldives, reflects our special friendship," the minister said in another tweet later.

Leaders of Bhutan and Maldives expressed their thanks to the government and people of India for supply of vaccines.

Maldives President Ibrahim Mohamed Solih said in a tweet that supply of vaccine had renewed hopes for the resolution of COVID-19 crisis soon.

"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 Narendra Modi, government and people of India for this most generous gift," he said.

Maldives Foreign Minister Abdulla Shahid also thanked PM Modi and Jaishankar for their commitment to addressing the needs of India's neighbours.

"Maldives extends deep and profound appreciation to PM Narendra Modi and EAM Dr S Jaishankar for their commitment to address the needs of India's neighbours, and for its special regard for the Maldives, at all times," he said in a tweet.

He said India stands strong and steadfast by Maldives "as first responder in any crisis".

"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 1st responder in any crisis," he said.

An AN-32 reached Paro valley in Bhutan around 3.25 pm today, carrying the first consignment of 150,000 doses of Covishield vaccines.

Bhutan Foreign Minister Tandi Dorji said in a tweet that the two countries have an abiding friendship.

"Our profound gratitude to the GoI for the generous gift of 150,000 doses of Covishield vaccines that Bhutan received today. Deeply grateful to GoI for its abiding friendship and unconditional support to Bhutan's fight against the COVID-19 pandemic," he said.

MEA had said on Tuesday that India will be supplying vaccines to Bhutan, Maldives, Bangladesh, Nepal, Myanmar and Seychelles from January 20.

The ministry said that India is awaiting confirmation of necessary regulatory clearances concerning the supply of medicines in respect of Sri Lanka, Afghanistan and Mauritius.

Bhutan is the first country to receive COVID-19 vaccines from India. (ANI)

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