India has announced to gift 200,000 doses of COVID-19 vaccine to the UN peacekeeper forces for free. The announcement was made by the External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar while addressing the UN Security Council meeting on COVID-19.
“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,” he said.
UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres responded to the announcement and said that he is “extremely grateful” for the gift.
“We are extremely grateful for this donation announced today by the Indian delegation. The distribution will be operationalised by the UN’s Department of Support,” Stephane Dujarric, Spokesman for the Secretary-General, told PTI.
The 200,000 doses will allow administration of the required double doses of COVID-19 vaccines to all UN peacekeepers across missions. According to the UN Peacekeeping, currently a total of 94,484 personnel are serving in 12 peacekeeping operations across the world led by the Department of Peace Operations. A total of 121 nations are contributing uniformed personnel to the UN peacekeeping missions. India has been contributing among the largest troop to peacekeeping missions of the UN.
The announcement by India was welcomed by UN diplomats. Permanent Representative of Canada to the UN, Ambassador Bob Rae tweeted: This is an important and generous announcement by Indian government on vaccinating 95000 UN peacekeepers.”
Permanent Representative of Rwanda to the United Nations, Ambassador Valentine Rugwabiza tweeted, The gesture & announcement by India of a gift of vaccines for UN Peacekeepers is much appreciated. Vaccinating #UNPeacekeepers who put their lives on frontlines to protect civilians & Peace agreements is the largest security multiplier in the context of a global COVID-19 pandemic.
The External Affairs Minister remarked that India has been at the forefront of the global fight against the pandemic. Earlier, India had provided critical medicines, diagnostic kits, ventilators and personal protective equipment to more than 150 countries, about 80 of them on a grant basis.
Additionally, under the country’s ‘Vaccine Maitri’ initiative, India has emerged as the largest vaccine supplier in the world. In fact, starting with the immediate neighbours, India has already supplied vaccines to 25 nations across the world. In the coming days, the country is set to supply the vaccine to 49 more countries including countries from Europe, Latin America, the Caribbean, Africa, South-East Asia as well as the Island Countries of the Pacific.
Following the announcement, India’s Permanent Representative to the UN Ambassador T S Tirumurti tweeted, Protecting the Protectors! External Affairs Minister @DrSJaishankar announces a gift of 200,000 doses of vaccines for UN peacekeepers at #UNSC. India responds immediately to request of @UN Secretary General @antonioguterres.”
India’s Deputy Permanent Representative to the UN Ambassador Nagaraj Naidu tweeted External Affairs Minister @DrSJaishankar in solidarity with @UNPeacekeeping announces India’s gift of 200,000 doses of #COVID19Vaccine for all @UN peacekeepers.