New York [US]: Calling for India to play a major role in global vaccination campaign, United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres on Thursday termed the vaccine production capacity of India as the "best asset" that the world has today.
Addressing reporters here, the UN chief said, "I know that in India there is a very high level of production of Indian-developed vaccines. We are in contact with Indian institutions for that. We strongly hope that India will have all the instruments that are necessary to play a major role in making sure that a global vaccination is campaign is made possible."
"I think that the production capacity of India is the best asset that the world has today. I hope the world understands that it must be fully used," he added.
On the need to democratize access to medicines, Guterres said, "I would say a very important element on the democratization of access to medicines all over the world. I appealed once again today for the licenses to be made available in order for companies around the world to be able to produce some of the vaccines that already exist."
UN chief's statement comes as India has gifted over 55 lakh doses of coronavirus vaccine to neighbouring countries.
Addressing a weekly briefing, External Affairs Ministry (EAM) spokesperson, Anurag Srivastava, on Thursday said India plans to gift vaccines doses to Oman, CARICOM countries, Nicaragua and Pacific Island states.
Srivastava said New Delhi plans to supply 1 crore or 10 million vaccine doses to Africa and 10 lakh to United Nations health workers under GAVI's (Global Alliance for Vaccines and Immunisation) COVAX facility.
"There is interest in many countries to access vaccine from India. In line with Prime Minister Narendra Modi's announcement that India sees international cooperation in the fight against the pandemic. We have played the role of the first responder in the neighbourhood," Srivastava said.
"From 20th January 2021 onward, we have gifted over 55 lakh doses of coronavirus vaccines to our neighbouring countries and in the extended neighbourhood--1.5 lakh to Bhutan, 1 lakh to Maldives, Mauritius and Bahrain, 10 lakhs to Nepal, 20 lakhs to Bangladesh, 15 lakhs to Myanmar, 50,000 to Seychelles and 5 lakh to Sri Lanka. In the coming days, we plan to gift further quantity to Oman that is of 1 lakh doses, 5 lakh doses to CARICOM countries, 2 lakh to Nicaragua and 2 lakh doses to the Pacific island state," he added.
India, Srivastava said, plans to commercially export coronavirus vaccine to Saudi Arabia, South Africa, Canada, Mongolia and other countries.
"On a commercial level, the export has taken place for Brazil, Morocco and Bangladesh. Further supplies to countries on commercial bases are likely to take place to Saudi Arabia, South Africa, Canada Mongolia and other countries. We plan to supply 1 crore or 10 million vaccine doses to Africa and 10 lakh to United Nations health workers under GAVI," he said.