The vaccine diplomacy in India continues to get accolades worldwide, with Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau lauding India for its assistance to Ottawa in combating the coronavirus pandemic. This week, the Canadian leader reached out to Prime Minister Narendra Modi for 1 million doses of Covid vaccines from Serum Institute of India, one of the world’s largest producer of vaccines. Agreeing to Mr Trudeau’s request, Mr Modi promptly assured his Canadian counterpart that India would do its best to support Canada’s vaccination efforts and also agreed to collaborate on issues like climate change and global economic recovery.
In the telephonic conversation, Mr Trudeau also lauded the Indian government’s efficacy in tackling the pandemic. “I can highlight that India has been a great partner in fighting Covid, whether it’s helping us with delivery of other pharmaceuticals or whether it’s working together on potential vaccines”, said Mr Trudeau. The official Canadian statement also stressed India’s efforts in promoting vaccine production and supply, which have provided vital support to countries around the world.
“If the world managed to conquer COVID-19, it would be significantly because of India’s tremendous pharmaceutical capacity, and Prime Minister Modi’s leadership in sharing this capacity with the world,” Mr Trudeau told PM Modi, according to a statement by India’s external affairs ministry.
“The latest comments by Mr Trudeau praising India’s vaccination efforts stand out in stark contrast to his earlier controversial statement supporting the farmers’ agitation in India, which had cast a shadow on bilateral ties,” said Manish Chand, Editor-in-Chief, India Writes Network and India and the World magazine. “The conversation was not just confined to vaccines, but had a larger canvas which suggests that Mr Trudeau is keen to forge collaboration with India on key global issues,” said Mr Chand.
The two leaders also discussed bilateral coordination on key geo-political issues, people-to-people ties, growing economic cooperation and reaffirmed their common commitment to a free and open Indo-Pacific. “They underlined the need to work collectively in rebuilding a more sustainable and resilient global economy,” said a statement from Canada’s Foreign Office.
Canada is the only G7 country to have taken vaccines from the COVAX pool and faces internal pressure back home owing to slow rollout of Covid vaccines. In such a situation, India’s helping hand will not only burnish its reputation as the ‘global pharmacy’, but will also help build better ties between the two countries.
(Palak Chhabra and Shweta Aggarwal contributed inputs for this article)
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