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Jaishankar slams 'Vaccine Maitri' critics

20 Apr 2021, 05:03 GMT+10

New Delhi [India], April 19 (ANI): While defending India's decision to export Covid-19 vaccines to other countries at a time when the cases are surging in the country, Minister of External Affairs S Jaishankar on Monday said that those questioning New Delhi's decision to export shots are "short-sighted".

Speaking at the All India Management Association National Leadership Conclave, Jaishankar also "pushed" the big countries to ensure a smooth supply of raw materials needed for the manufacturing of Covid-19 vaccines in India.

"As a foreign minister, I'm pushing other countries particularly some big countries, saying - look, please keep the raw materials flowing for vaccines to be made in India. The fact is that there're global supply chains," Jaishankar said during the conclave.

"Can I go around the world and tell people - guys, keep your supply chains flowing towards me? I'm asking you for raw materials but I'm not going to give vaccines. Look at the vaccine itself. Today, your largest vaccine under production is an international product," he added.

Jaishankar said that along with distributing vaccines overseas, the Indian government did not forget prioritising the people of the country.

"It's not that we aren't prioritising our people. As things got tough, we spoke to the world and said that we tried our best to live up to commitments but please understand that we have a very serious situation at home and most countries understand that," the minister expressed.

"If you ask why are you exporting (vaccines) at all, somebody will ask -- why am I exporting to India. That is so short-sighted. Only non-serious, irresponsible people can make that argument," he said.

India is a major vaccine contributor to World Health Organisation's COVAX initiative, which aims to supply vaccines to economically weaker and middle-income countries. (ANI)

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