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Mission #VaccineMaitri India's gift of COVISHIELD vaccines to Mauritius

His Excellency, the Hon’ble President of the Republic of Mauritius

His Excellency, the Hon’ble Prime Minister,

Hon’ble Ministers and Members of the Cabinet,

Esteemed members of the Media,

Dignitaries and Friends,

  1. zordi c'est ene grand zour pou Maurice ek linde.Today is yet another momentous day in the glorious relationship between Mauritius and India! Yet another great chapter is being added to our unique, special and time-tested partnership with Mauritius becoming one of the 7 priority partner countries in the world to receive the first gift of Covid-19 vaccines from India. What can be a more telling testimony to the special affection and special importance attached to Mauritius by India,than the fact that India has dispatched 100,000 doses of the Oxford-AstraZeneca Covishield vaccine to the people of Mauritius barely a week after India started its own vaccination program fora population of 1.3 billion people? It is only my 20th day here as the Indian High Commissioner and I feel blessed and honoured by this auspicious beginning to my tenure.
  1. Today is not only special, it is also unprecedented.  It is unprecedented because for the first time, a consignment of medical supplies is not just a consignment – it is the first glimmer of light at the end of a seemingly long and dark tunnel; a harbinger of hope that signals the beginning of the end / of the worst pandemic in living memory.  It is also hopefully, the golden key / that can help open the borders / and unlock Mauritius’s tourism and hospitality industry,/ leading to the revival of the economy. Here, I must commend the able leadership of the Hon’ble Prime Minister and the government of Mauritiusas well as the people of Mauritius for their impressive success in dealing with the pandemic and for making Mauritius one of the very few “covid-safe” countries in the world.  I must confess that on a personal level, after several months of wearing the mask constantly and not being able to meet friends or attend public gatherings, I am experiencing a wonderful sense of liberation after arriving here in Mauritius and rediscovering normalcy! My fellow Indiansjoin me today in hoping that these vaccines from India will make every Mauritian feel even more safe and more hopeful about the future. 
  2. In my view, the 100,000 vaccine doses gifted today by India not only have the potency to combat Covid-19; they also symbolize the potency and strength of India-Mauritius ties and the time-tested immunity of the India-Mauritius relationship against changing times and tides. As they say, it is truly an “all weather” relationship! This was evident last year too when Mauritius was again one of the first countries in the world to receive 13 tonnes of lifesaving medicines, 10 tonnes of Ayurvedic medicines, half a million tablets of Hydroxychloroquine along with a 14-member Indian Rapid Response Medical Assistance Team to help combat Covid-19. All these initiatives are inspired by India’s Mission ‘Vaccine Maitri’ or ‘Vaccine Friendship’ which is anchored in our foundational ethos of ‘VasudhaivaKutumbakam’- the belief that the “world is one family” and that “a friend in need is a friend indeed”.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

  1. As many of you know, India has emerged as one of the major players in combating covid-19 worldwide as the ‘Pharmacy of the World’ that produces 60% of the world’s vaccines and supplies 70% of WHO’s vaccines and as a country that exports 1.5 billion doses every year to more than 150 countries and has one of the largest vaccination programs in the world. Today, 65% of the world’s children are given vaccines produced by just one Indian company – the Serum Institute of India which manufactures the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine. We in India are particularly glad that our innovative pharma industry is also a world leader in R&D and has developed a range of affordable new vaccines, especially tailored for developing countries. For instance, just one Indian company BHARAT BIOTECH whichhas also produced an effective vaccine against Covid-19called COVAXIN that has been approved by GoI,has already commercialised 16 different vaccines so far.  
  2. As our Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi said, India has chosen to deploy its strengths in this sector not only for the benefit of Indians but also to helpall of humanity combat this terrible pandemic. For example, although India is eligible for support from the Vaccine Alliance GAVI as a developing country, India has contributed15 million US Dollars to GAVI as a donor.

My dear friends,

  1. I am also glad to share with you that currently, 30 different vaccine development initiatives are underway in India; 6 vaccines are in clinical trial stage, out of which 3 are developed entirely indigenously in India.  The Oxford-AstrazenecaCovishield vaccine received today has been approved for use by more than a dozen countries in the world. It is not only affordable but also easy to transport, store and administer since it needs only normal refrigeration between 2 and 8 degrees centigrade, unlike others that need deep freeze conditions. We have already used this vaccine in immunizing over 1 million Indiansin the last 7 days` (almost the population of Mauritius!) and we have had very good results with the vaccine. I am glad that an Indian medical team was able to share India’s experience and expertisein administering these vaccines with Mauritian doctors and healthcare personnel through a two-day virtual training programme. I met the Mauritian team personally and would like to thank them for partnering us in this humanitarian effort.  In the months ahead, India will continue to extend all possible assistance to Mauritius and the world to combat the pandemic.
  1. En tant / qu'ami fidèle / du peuple Mauricien,/ l'Inde espère / que l'arrivée de ces vaccins,/ marquerala fin / du long cauchemar / du Coviddix neuf / et le début/ d'un nouveau départ! / Je souhaite / à tous les Mauriciens / une bonne santé, /du bonheur /et de la prospérité / cette année./ Que l’annee vingt-vingt et un / soit une année merveilleuse / pour vous / et vos familles!

God bless!

Vive L’Inde!

Vive Maurice!

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