PM Modi speaks to Kamala Harris over US sending COVID-19 vaccines to India

The conversation took place as US President Joe Biden announced on Thursday that India will receive COVID-19 vaccines directly from the US stockpile.
Narendra Modi, the Prime Minister of India
Narendra Modi, the Prime Minister of India
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US Vice President Kamala Harris has told Prime Minister Narendra Modi that the US will be sending COVID-19 vaccines to India, following which Modi thanked her for the support from the US government and the Indian diaspora, in what was likely their first interaction. Modi expressed his appreciation for assurance of vaccine supplies to India as part of the US Strategy for Global Vaccine Sharing, under which India is expected to get the first batch of doses by the end of the month. The conversation took place as US President Joe Biden announced on Thursday that India will receive COVID-19 vaccines directly from the US stockpile, the White House said.

In a series of tweets, Modi said he also thanked Harris for all the support and solidarity from the US government, businesses and the Indian diaspora. "We also discussed ongoing efforts to further strengthen India-US vaccine cooperation and potential of our partnership to contribute to post-COVID global health, economic recovery," he said. The US embassy also issued a statement from Symone Sanders, senior advisor and chief spokesperson for Harris on her calls with leaders of four countries, including Modi, on the global allocation plan for the supply of the COVID-19 vaccine doses to India and other countries by the end of the month.

In the four separate calls, she said that the US will begin sharing the first 25 million (2.5 crore) doses of COVID-19 vaccines to their respective countries and others, as part of the Biden-Harris administration's framework for sharing at least 80 million (8 crore) vaccines globally by the end of June. She reiterated that the administration's efforts are focused on achieving a broad global coverage, responding to surges and other urgent situations and public health needs, and helping as many countries as possible who requested vaccines.

Besides Modi, Harris spoke to President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador of Mexico, President Alejandro Giammattei of Guatemala and Prime Minister Keith Rowley, Chairman of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM), the statement added.  The four leaders thanked the vice president, and they agreed to continue working together to address COVID-19 and advance our mutual interests around the world, the US government statement said.

Officials in New Delhi said that Modi and Harris discussed ongoing efforts to strengthen the health supply chain between the US and India, including in the area of vaccine manufacturing. They highlighted the potential of the India-US partnership as well as the QUAD vaccine initiative in addressing the long-term health impact of the pandemic. The Prime Minister also said he hopes to welcome Vice President Harris in India soon after normalisation of the global health situation.

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