Prime Minister of India Narendra Modi

India High Commissioner Arun Kumar Sahu yesterday said that since last year, India has supplied medicine, including hydroxychloroquine and paracetamol, to 150 nations, including T&T.

Sahu was speaking yesterday at “Memories of India – A time capsule of memories” at the Mahatma Gandhi Institute for Cultural Cooperation in Mt Hope amid a brewing diplomatic friction between himself and the Government over COVID-19 vaccines.

“All three countries I am accredited to as High Commissioner, namely Trinidad & Tobago, Grenada and Commonwealth Dominica, were supplied with these gifts,” Sahu said.

“As scientists succeeded in finding a vaccine, our Vaccine Maitri (Vaccine Friendship) began in the immediate neighbourhood (Maldives, Bhutan, Bangladesh, Nepal, Sri Lanka and Myanmar, Mauritius and Seychelles). Gradually, it got extended to the Gulf and smaller and more vulnerable nations from Africa to the Caribbean. Make in India vaccines have also entered into other countries, either bilaterally or through the COVAX initiative,” he added.

Sahu said on March 12, India Prime Minister Narendra Modi launched “Azadi Ka Amrut Mahotsav” (The auspicious celebration of Independence), the government’s initiative to mark 75 years of India’s independence. The celebration will continue for 75 weeks and culminate on August 15, 2022.

“The celebrations are beginning in an atmosphere when India has demonstrated to the world its adherence to the age-old tradition of Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam (The whole world is one family) through its vaccine diplomacy,” he said.

Sahu said to date, India has supplied “Made in India” vaccines to 72 nations across geographies.

“In the Caribbean region, we have donated 495,000 AstraZeneca vaccines to ten island countries. It is of great satisfaction that the only vaccine that has come to this region, however small, is from India,” he said.

Sahu said India’s people and the government are incredibly proud of their success in all walks of life, including politics, administration, business, academics, medicine, engineering, literature and service to their respective countries, irrespective of class, ethnicity and faith.

He said, “It must be underlined that 21st century India is strong today and stronger tomorrow, and it does not employ mouthpieces to speak for it.

“India is a civilisation of 5,000 years, the biggest democracy in the world with great diversity and pluralism. Our existence’s centrality is good governance and the welfare of its people and humanity’s greater good.”