The country is set to begin the supply of Made-in-India vaccines for COVID-19 to its neighbouring countries. On Wednesday, Bhutan and Maldives will become the first recipients of the vaccines, followed by Nepal, Bangladesh, Myanmar and Seychelles. Countries like Sri Lanka, Mauritius and Afghanistan will receive the Indian vaccines only after giving necessary regulatory approvals.

As many as one lakh doses of the Covishield vaccine, manufactured by Pune-based Serum Institute of India (SII), will reach Male on Wednesday.

Announcing the initiative called “Vaccine Maitri”, Prime Minister Narendra Modi tweeted: “India is deeply honoured to be a long-trusted partner in meeting the healthcare needs of the global community. Supplies of Covid vaccines to several countries will commence tomorrow, and more will follow in the days ahead.”

External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar joined in a tweet saying, “India fulfils commitment to give vaccines to humanity. Supplies to our neighbours will start on 20th January. The Pharmacy of the World will deliver to overcome the COVID challenge.”

Earlier, the MEA said in a statement that the nation has received requests from many of its neighbours for the supply of the vaccines.

“In response to these requests, and in keeping with India’s stated commitment to use India’s vaccine production and delivery capacity to help all of humanity fight the Covid pandemic, supplies under grant assistance to Bhutan, Maldives, Bangladesh, Nepal, Myanmar and Seychelles will begin from 20 January 2021. In respect of Sri Lanka, Afghanistan and Mauritius, we are awaiting their confirmation of necessary regulatory clearances,” the MEA stated.