At a time when India is looking towards the US for ingredients crucial for vaccine manufacturing, External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar on Monday spoke to US Secretary of State Antony Blinken and discussed “issues pertaining to health cooperation”.
Indian officials have been in touch with the US administration officials over the issue, as Indian envoy to the US Taranjit Sandhu is learnt to have taken it up with American officials.
India’s largest vaccine manufacturer Serum Institute of India, which has been tasked with producing the Oxford-AstraZeneca Covid shot, has been experiencing a crunch of raw materials. SII chief Adar Poonawala had taken to Twitter to request the American President Joe Biden to lift an embargo on the supply of raw materials, after the imposition of Defence Production Act (DPA), mobilising American resources for domestic use only.
Jaishankar and Blinken also discussed issues relating to cooperation in the area of health as well as exchanged views on the agenda of the UN Security Council.
“Spoke to my US counterpart Secretary of State @SecBlinken this evening. Conversation covered recent developments in India’s immediate and extended neighbourhood. Exchanged views on the UNSC agenda. Also discussed issues pertaining to our health cooperation,” Jaishankar tweeted.
Earlier in the day, Jaishankar defended India’s decision to export vaccines to other countries amid the second wave — he said Delhi was pushing big countries to ensure smooth supply of raw materials needed for manufacturing of Covid vaccines in India.
““If you ask why are you exporting (vaccines) at all, somebody will ask — why am I exporting to India. That is so short-sighted. Only non-serious, irresponsible people can make that argument,” Jaishankar said, at a conclave organised by All India Management Association.