WASHINGTON – India will make available 8 million doses of the Johnson and Johnson vaccine by the end of October under the Quad vaccine partnership, Foreign Secretary Harsh Vardhan Shringla said Sept. 24.
Shringla said that Prime Minister Narendra Modi made the announcement in the regard at the Quad Summit, ANI reported. The foreign Secretary added that the Quad nations, including India, will pay for the vaccines. The leaders of the U.S., India, Australia and Japan held the first in-person Quad leaders meeting in Washington during which they reaffirmed their commitment to work together to contain the COVID-19 pandemic.
"They took stock of the factors that would address the COVID-19 pandemic, in particular, the vaccine partnership, this is considered the most important of the deliverables the Quad is looking at the most immediate and most imminent in view of the concerns with COVID-19," he said.
"In that context, Prime Minister [Modi] announced not only the resumption of vaccines export but at the request of Quad, Prime Minister said that India would make available 8 million doses of Johnson and Johnson vaccine which is Jensen vaccine which is manufactured in India by the Biological E. This would be ready by the end of October compatible with our decision to resume vaccine export. Quad will pay for the vaccine and India will bear a certain share of those. This is an immediate delivery from the Quad into the Indo-Pacific region," he added.
In his opening remarks at the Quad summit, Prime Minister Modi said that that the Quad vaccine initiative will help the Indo-Pacific nations as the world is battling COVID-19.
Modi said that the world is battling with COVID-19 and the Quad members again came together in the interest of humanity.
In March, the India-U.S.-Japan-Australia Quadrilateral initiative, or Quad, decided to build a first-of-its-kind joint vaccine supply chain to address the current and any future pandemic situations in the Indo-Pacific region.
The vaccines will be developed in the U.S., manufactured in India, financed by Japan and the U.S., and supported by Australia through logistics for the Indo-Pacific, including island states.
"Our Quad vaccine initiative will help Indo-Pacific nations. Quad decided to go ahead with a positive approach on basis of our shared democratic values. I would be happy to discuss with my friends—be it supply chain, global security, climate action, COVID response or tech cooperation," Modi said at the Quad Leaders' Summit.
"I express my gratitude to President Joe Biden for the first in-person Quad meeting. Four countries, for the first time, came together to help the Indo-Pacific region after the 2004 Tsunami. Today when the world is battling with COVID-19, we being the Quad members are again came together in the interest of humanity," he added.
Recently, the Indian government announced that the country will resume exports of COVID-19 vaccines in the October quarter, prioritizing the global vaccine-sharing platform COVAX and keeping the neighboring countries first as supplies rise.
An IANS report added: Quad will bring peace and prosperity to the Indo-Pacific region and the world with its positive approach, Modi said at the start of the summit.
"On the basis of democratic values, Quad with positive ideas and a positive approach is determined to move forward," Modi said Sept. 24 at the White House seated around a flower-bedecked island with the other leaders, President Joe Biden and Prime Ministers Yoshihide Suga of Japan and Scott Morrison of Australia.
"Whether it is supply chain, security, climate action, Covid response, or technology cooperation, I am happy to discuss them with our friends," he said speaking in Hindi.
"Our Quad is united as a force for good to work for the world," he said.
"I am confident that our Quad assistance in the Indo-Pacific and in the world will bring peace and prosperity," he added.
Biden welcomed the leaders and said that their vaccine initiative launched at their virtual summit in March to provide one billion doses to the Indo-Pacific region was on track, and also announced the STEM program that will give 25 scholarships to students from each of the four countries to pursue graduate education in the U.S.
Speaking at a special briefing after the Quad leaders' meeting, Shringla said that the leaders also discussed a common approach to emerging technologies, cybersecurity and addressing the challenge of climate change.
"They shared perspectives on the situation in Afghanistan, the emerging challenges in South Asia and Indo-Pacific and reaffirmed their commitment to work together to contain the COVID-19 pandemic and work towards preventing the other pandemics that would come in the future. Evolving a common approach to emerging technologies, cybersecurity and addressing the challenge of climate change was something that the leaders discussed," he added.
Modi also invited Biden to visit India, said the Ministry of External Affairs, adding that New Delhi looks forward to the visit of the U.S. leader at the "earliest and mutual convenience.”
"PM Modi invited President Joe Biden to visit India. President Biden noted with thanks and appreciation. We certainly look forward to the visit of the U.S. president at the earliest and mutual convenience," Shringla said in a special briefing.
AP adds from Washington: Meeting with the leaders of India, Australia and Japan, President Biden declared Sept. 24 that the U.S. and other members of the Indo-Pacific alliance known as “the Quad,” are showing they “know how to get things done” in an increasingly complicated corner of the globe.
Biden and his fellow leaders are all grappling with a rising China that Biden has accused of coercive economic practices and unsettling military maneuvering.
They made no direct mention of China as they opened the group’s first ever in-person meeting, but the Pacific power was sure to be a major focus as they headed into private talks.
On broader issues, Biden has repeatedly made a case that the U.S. and likeminded allies need to deliver results on the COVID-19 pandemic, climate change and other fundamental matters with the world in what he’s deemed a race between democracies and autocracies.
Before the gathering on Sept. 24 afternoon, Biden sat down with Modi in the Oval Office. He was also to have a one-on-one with Suga, who is soon to step down from his post.
With Modi by his side, Biden played up ties to India — referencing Vice President Kamala Harris’ Indian American heritage and even his own family ties to the subcontinent.
The president also made clear he saw tightening relations with the world’s biggest democracy — one that shares a neighborhood with Taliban-controlled Afghanistan and China — as vital for both sides.
“I’ve long believed the U.S.-India relationship can help us solve an awful lot of global challenges,” Biden said.
A day after Vice President Kamala Harris acknowledged the presence of terror groups in Pakistan, India and the United States have expressed concern over Islamabad's role in Afghanistan.
Speaking on the bilateral meeting between Modi and Biden, Shringla said that the two sides underscored the importance of combating terrorism in Afghanistan. "I think there was clear concern in that regard on Pakistan's role in Afghanistan and their continuing for a certain approach that did not seem to be conducive to the international community expectations of what Afghanistan should be like," he said.
According to Shringla, Modi and Biden called on the Taliban to ensure that the Afghan territory is not used to threaten and attack any country to shelter or train terrorist groups.
(With ANI, IANS and AP reports)