US Vice President Kamala Harris spoke to Prime Minister Narendra Modi over the phone today. The call was initiated by the American side, top government sources said.
During the call, Harris stressed the Joe Biden administration’s efforts to ‘achieve broad global coverage, responding to surges and other urgent situations ad public health needs and helping as many countries as possible who requested vaccines’, according to Senior White House Advisor and Chief Spokesperson Symone Sanders.
Earlier, the Biden administration unveiled a plan to share Covid-19 vaccines with the world, including its intent to direct 75 per cent of excess doses through the UN-backed COVAX global vaccine sharing program.
India is expecting to get a good chunk of these.
Apart from Modi, Harris also dialled President Andres Manuel López Obrador of Mexico, President Alejandro Giammattei of Guatemala, and Prime Minister Keith Rowley, Chairman of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM).
“The Vice President notified each of the leaders that the Biden-Harris Administration will begin sharing the first 25 million doses of COVID vaccines to their respective countries and others, as part of the Biden-Harris Administration’s framework for sharing at least 80 million vaccines globally by the end of June,” the White House said in a statement.
Last month, External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar- the first Indian Cabinet minister to visit the US under the Biden administration – had said that the Covid-19 pandemic and vaccines were one of the most important aspects of his discussions with top officials.
Jaishankar had met Secretary of State Antony Blinken, Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin, National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan, US Trade Representatives Katherine Tai and Director of National Intelligence Avril Haines over the course of his two-day visit. He also held meetings with top officials from about a dozen departments of the administration. He also spoke with co-chairs of the India Caucus, and Chairman and Ranking Member of the powerful House Foreign Affairs Committee.