India has started 'vaccine diplomacy' in South Asia as part of which India has sent several lakhs doses of Covishield to Bhutan, Maldives and Bangladesh. Myanmar will also receive similar complimentary vaccines from India.
India has named this effort Vaccine Alliance. Foreign affairs analysts have stated that India aims to tackle the spread of Chinese Sinovac or Sinopharm vaccines in the South Asian region.India sent .5 lakh dosages of Serum Institute of India’s Covishield vaccine to Bhutan and 1 lakh dosages to Maldives on Wednesday while two million free vaccines were sent to Bangladesh on Thursday.
Indian External Affairs Minister S. Jaishankar said a couple of weeks ago that Covid 19 has expanded ways to enhance cooperation within friendly countries which is part of India's "neighbourhood first" policy. India views the endeavour of sending vaccines to the neighbouring countries as a duty, S. Jaishankar further said.
According to diplomatic sources, India has chalked out plans to buy around one crore doses of Covishield vaccines from different pharmaceutical companies and send complimentary vaccines to all countries of South Asia except Pakistan.