Maldives will be able to kickstart the inoculation drive so early on in the battle against Covid-19, with the support and assistance from India, says Indian High Commissioner Sunjay Sudhir.
Taking the podium at the ceremony to mark the delivery of Oxford-AstraZeneca Covishield vaccination doses to the Maldives from India on Wednesday afternoon, the High Commissioner noted that the arrival of vaccination doses has stirred confidence that “the worst is over” and that the country is “on its way to normalcy” that was observed before the pandemic surfaced in the island nation on 7 March 2020.
Stressing that the pandemic has taken a “disproportionate toll” on countries like the Maldives in terms of human suffering and well as in economic terms, Sudhir expressed hope that the 100,000 doses of Covishield delivered on Wednesday via an Air India flight, will “save lives” and end the suffering of Maldivian people and the country’s economy.
Further shedding light on the historical humanitarian-connect between Maldives and India, Sudhir noted that India has “always opened its heart and doors” whenever Maldives requires humanitarian assistance.
As such, India had given medical visas to over 3,000 Maldivians despite not having fully reopened borders for international travel, alongside the many other assistances including the supply of food and medical essentials, dispatching medical teams and providing training in connection to the pandemic.
Noting that there is no doubt that Maldives occupies a “very special” place in India’s foreign policy, Sudhir stated that this is proven with Maldivian being the first country to receive the vaccination doses, and that too, within 96 hours since the country-wide rollout in India.
There is no doubt that Maldives occupies a very special place in the foreign policy of India. The India-first policy of Maldives is fully reciprocated by the neighborhood policy of India in both letter and spirit.”Sunjay Sudhir, High Commissioner of India to Maldives
Indian Prime Minister, Narendra Modi in his speech at the UN General Assembly last year in September said that “India’s vaccine production and delivery capacity will be used to help all humanity in fighting this crisis. India will also help all countries in enhancing their cold chain and storage capacity for the delivery of vaccines.”
Maldives has been receiving generous assistance from India ever since the pandemic began, with India having assisted in evacuating Maldivian students stranded in Wuhan City of China’s Hubei Province when the outbreak began, providing assistance and expertise Maldivian health authorities desperately needed as well as providing essentials when Maldives needed to stock up. India has held the title of being the first responder in times of crises and emergencies.
WATCH THE HIGH COMMISSIONER'S FULL SPEECH HERE:"I hope the vaccine will save lives and emulate the suffering of Maldivian people"