Prime News, International (New York), June 5:- 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.
The electronic conversation took place as US President Joe Biden announced on Thursday that India will receive Covid vaccines directly from the US stockpile, the White House said.
Modi tweeted, “I deeply appreciate the assurance of vaccine supplies to India as part of the US Strategy for Global Vaccine Sharing. I also thanked her (Harris) for all the support and solidarity from the US government, businesses and Indian diaspora.”
Biden, who has faced international and domestic pressure to share surplus vaccines, said he is releasing the first set of 25 million doses of which six million will be shared between India, South Korea, Mexico and Canada.
The six million “will be shared directly with countries experiencing surges, those in crisis, and other partners and neighbours,” he said without giving a breakdown of how many doses will go to India.
His spokesperson Jen Psaki said that the vaccines could go out as soon as Thursday “as we are working to operationalise this, which is kind of a historic Herculean effort.”
Harris has spoken to several international leaders, but till Thursday there had been no mention by the White House of a conversation with Modi, whom she had criticised in the past.
Although Harris has refrained from criticising him since assuming office, her nice Meena Harris has attacked Modi.
Calling Modi about the vaccine supply gives her clout while speaking to him.
The White House said that she also spoke to Presidents Andres Manuel Lapez Obrador of Mexico, and Alejandro Giammattei of Guatemala, and Prime Minister Keith Rowley of Trinidad, who is also the Chairman of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM).
She “notified each of the leaders that the Biden-Harris administration will begin sharing the first 25 million doses of Covid vaccines to their respective countries and others, as part of the Biden-Harris administration’s framework for sharing at least 80 million vaccines globally by the end of June”, to which they thanked her and “agreed to continue working together to address Covid-19 and advance our mutual interests around the world”, the White House said.
Modi tweeted that they “discussed ongoing efforts to further strengthen India-US vaccine cooperation, and the potential of our partnership to contribute to post-Covid global health and economic recovery”.
The Quad — made up of India, the US, Japan and Australia — had announced a plan in March for India to manufacture one billion vaccines with US and Japanese financing to be distributed to Asian countries using Australian logistics. (MR, Inputs: Agencies).