A Poseidon 8I aircraft of the Indian Navy transported 100,000 doses of coronavirus vaccines to Mauritius and 50,000 doses to Seychelles as part of India's grants assistance, officials said on Saturday. Both the countries were delivered the consignments on Friday.
First the aircraft flew to Seychelles and after delivering the consignments to the island nation, it travelled to Mauritius. "The Indian crew, led by Captain Rahul Mehta, was accorded a warm welcome by diplomats from Seychelles, members of the Indian High Commission and medical crew who received the vaccine shipment at Seychelles international airport," an official said. The Indian crew was also accorded a warm welcome by a number of top ministers at the Mauritius International airport. The Poseidon 8I is a maritime reconnaissance and anti-submarine warfare aircraft.
So far, India has sent consignments of coronavirus vaccines under grant assistance to Bhutan, Maldives, Nepal, Bangladesh, Myanmar, Mauritius and Seychelles. On Friday, India began commercial exports and sent two million doses each to Brazil and Morocco.
India is also sending coronavirus vaccines as commercial supplies to Saudi Arabia, South Africa, Bangladesh and Myanmar. In a major announcement, India on Tuesday had said it will send COVID-19 vaccines under grant assistance to Bhutan, Maldives, Bangladesh, Nepal, Myanmar and Seychelles from Wednesday and supplies to Sri Lanka, Afghanistan and Mauritius will commence after confirmation of necessary regulatory clearances.
India is one of the world's biggest drugmakers, and an increasing number of countries have already approached it for procuring the coronavirus vaccines. India has already rolled out a massive coronavirus vaccination drive under which two vaccines, Covishield and Covaxin, are being administered to frontline health workers across the country.
While Oxford-AstraZeneca's Covishield is being manufactured by the Serum Institute, Covaxin is being produced by Bharat Biotech. India had earlier supplied hydroxychloroquine, Remdesivir and paracetamol tablets, as well as diagnostic kits, ventilators, masks, gloves and other medical supplies to a large number of countries to help them deal with the pandemic.