The first Consignment of COVID-19 vaccine reached Maldives on Wednesday. Calling it a reflection of Special Friendship, External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar informed that the first consignment of over 1,0 0,000 doses of Covishield vaccines reached Maldives. With this, Maldives (along with Bhutan) has become the first recipient of India’s gift of the Covishield vaccines, manufactured by the Serum Institute of India (SII).Also Read - UP Schools, Colleges To Remain Closed Till January 30 Amid Rise In COVID Cases

Earlier on Wednesday, India sent a consignment of 1.5 lakh doses of COVID-19 vaccine Covishield to Thimphu, Bhutan. Also Read - 'Brain Fog' In COVID Survivors Could Be Result Of Virus Changing Patients’ Spinal Fluid, Finds Study

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Mohamed Nasheed, Maldives Speaker of People’s Majlis (parliament) tweeted, “Today, an Air India plane will land in Male” with 1,00,000 doses of AstraZeneca vaccine – a gift from India.

For the Maldives, it’s the beginning of the end of this terrible virus. During the tsunami, ”88 coup, water crisis or corona pandemic, India has been our first responder and dependable friend”.

This vaccine diplomacy of India is yet another testament to its Neighbourhood First policy, in which the Maldives occupies a special and central place. This is reciprocated in full measure by the ”India First” policy of the Government of Maldives.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi during his visit to the Maldives in June 2019 rightly said ”Neighbourhood First is our priority; in the Neighbourhood Maldives is a priority”.

The delivery of these vaccines in the Maldives today fulfils the commitment made by the Foreign Secretary during his visit to the Maldives in November 2020 when he announced that as a close partner and friend, India would accord priority to the Maldives for providing vaccines, whenever these vaccines were ready.