(Bloomberg) -- India will begin commercial shipments of Covid-19 vaccines to Brazil and Morocco today, followed by Saudi Arabia and South Africa, as Prime Minister Narendra Modi attempts to burnish his credentials as a key global leader.
”There’s huge international demand for our vaccines,” Foreign Secretary Harsh Shringla told Bloomberg TV in an interview. “We expect to see more global players cooperating with their Indian counterparts in the pharma and healthcare sectors. This is likely to go beyond shifting parts of supply chains to India. We expect to see collaborations, manufacturing and R&D tie ups in this field.”
Last year, the prime minister had said India’s vaccine delivery and manufacturing capacity “would be used to help all of humanity to fight the Covid-19 pandemic and it’s in keeping with this vision that we have responded positively to requests for supply of Indian manufactured vaccines from countries all over the world,” Shringla said.
Brazil has the world’s third largest coronavirus epidemic, behind India and the U.S. and has made a late start to its vaccination campaign, lagging Latin American peers including Mexico and Argentina.
India began its domestic coronavirus vaccine roll-out on Jan. 16 using a mix of Serum Institute of India Ltd’s Covishield, a shot developed by AstraZeneca Plc, and an indigenously produced inoculation developed by Bharat Biotech International Ltd.
“We have to of course bear in mind that our external commitments have to be calibrated against existing production capacity and the requirements of our own immunization campaign,” Shringla said.
(Updates with quote from foreign secretary in second paragraph)