(Our Bureau, May 22) India’s foreign minister S Jaishankar, who will visit the US between May 24 and 28, is on a mission to secure more Covid-19 vaccines for India and her neighbours. Nepal, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka and Maldives have all reached out to India to meet their vaccine shortage. In a direct conversation with his Bangladeshi counterpart AK Abdul Momen, Jaishankar is said to have assured the country of procuring more supplies from the US. Nepal’s supplies have been dwindling since the Serum Institute of India froze exports. About 1.7 million citizens are waiting to get their second jab in Nepal, officials told Times of India. “The first dose of vaccines will be meaningless, because without the second dose in time it won’t work,” Nepal PM KP Sharma Oli said recently. Sri Lanka was expecting to buy 13.5 million Covidshield doses, but with export curbs on Serum Institute, the country has to now depend on China and Russia for vaccines. US President Joe Biden has committed 80 million doses of Covid vaccines to countries in need. However, there is no clarity on which countries will benefit from the distribution. While on his trip, Jaishankar is likely to broach this topic with the US officials.
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