New Delhi: In order to discuss COVID-related cooperation between the US and India, External Affairs Minister (EAM) S Jaishankar on Monday (May 24) is slated to begin his visit to America from May 24-May 28, to meet with senior United States officials, according to External Affairs Ministry.
India is engaged in talks with various US entities involved in Covid vaccines production and is looking forward to procuring and subsequently producing these vaccines. The issue of vaccine procurement is expected to be a key agenda item during Jaishankar`s interaction with US leadership and other stakeholders, said an ANI report.
The Foreign Minister is expected to meet UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres in New York and later he will hold discussions with his counterpart Secretary of State Antony Blinken in Washington DC, the ministry said, adding that Jaishankar will also be meeting Cabinet members and senior Officials of the Administration dealing with the bilateral relationship.
“External Affairs Minister will have two interactions with business forums on economic and COVID-related cooperation between India and the US,” said the ministry statement.
The US has already announced that it is going to distribute 80 million vaccines from its stockpile to countries in need. With India hit badly by the second Covid wave, efforts of New Delhi will focus on getting the maximum and also looking for tie-ups with vaccine developers to produce in India.
US has a stockpile 60 million Astra Zeneca vaccine and also Pfizer, Moderna and Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccines. US is playing a lead role in assisting India`s fight against the COVID-19 virus.
It has already provided large oxygen plants, concentrators, critical medicines like Remdesivir and also raw materials for vaccine manufacturer Serum Institute of India (SII), which is manufacturing Covishield.
US is also backing India sponsored proposal on TRIPS waiver at the WTO. The TRIPS waiver aims to increase global vaccine production in order to take on the challenge of vaccinating the poorest of the poor and save lives.
In October last year, India and South Africa, along with 57 members of WTO proposed a waiver from certain provisions of the TRIPS agreement for prevention, containment, and treatment of the coronavirus.
In early May, EAM Jaishankar met his US counterpart Antony Blinken in London during G7 Foreign Minister`s meeting.