India will provide two lakh doses of Covid-19 vaccine to UN peacekeepers as gifts, India's External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar has announced.
"Keeping in mind the UN peacekeepers who operate in such difficult circumstances, we would like to announce today a gift of 200,000 doses for them," the minister said today while speaking at the UN Security Council's open debate on the implementation of resolution 2532 (2020) on the cessation of hostilities in the context of the Covid-19 pandemic.
Jaishankar voiced concern that lack of global coordination regarding vaccine distribution will hit conflict-affected areas and poorer countries the hardest.
He said the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) estimates that more than 60 million people in such areas are at risk.
"Hoarding of superfluous doses will defeat our efforts towards attaining collective health security," the Indian external affairs minister said.
Jaishankar called upon all to stop "vaccine nationalism" and actively encourage internationalism, and for "cooperation within the framework of COVAX which is trying to secure adequate vaccine doses for the poorest nations".
The minister also said India has supplied Covid-19 vaccines to more than 25 countries and would ship to 49 more nations in the coming days.
India is concerned over a "glaring disparity" in accessibility of vaccines globally, Jaishankar said, laying emphasis on equity in access to vaccines, saying that it is important for mitigating the impact of the pandemic.
He further called for strengthening the COVAX facility to ensure distribution of vaccines to all countries in a fair and equitable manner.