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Can vaccine diplomacy break Indo-Pak thaw? Former J&K DGP endorses idea

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KM/Umar Ganie


Srinagar: As India plans to send 2 million COVID-19 vaccines to Bangladesh, reports Tuesday said that Pakistan too is exploring to source made-in-India vaccines even as a former J&K Police Chief endorsed the idea of India helping its neighbouring country.

Quoting “sources”, The Indian Express reported that Pakistan may attempt to source the made-in-India vaccine through Covax, an alliance set up by the Global Alliance for Vaccines and Immunisation (GAVI), Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations (CEPI) and World Health Organisation.

 

“The alliance has pledged free vaccines for 20 per cent of the population of around 190 countries, including Pakistan. Pakistan expects to get the first consignment from Covax just after the start of the second quarter of 2021,” the newspaper reported.

It added that one of the drug manufacturers in India has approached Pakistan government regarding the supply.

Meanwhile, former J&K DGP SP Vaid endorsed the idea of India helping its neighbour.

Vaid, while reacting to a tweet by ANI National Bureau Chief Naveen Kapoor, wrote: “I fully agree because it’s humanitarian cause.”

On Sunday, Naveen had tweeted: “India must help Pakistan with Covid Vaccines , its not military or political issue , it’s humanitarian issue . Like always India must show large heart , this will help Pakistan needy population directly and will isolate India haters . just Sunday thought.”

Since the Pulwama attack in February 2019, bilateral ties between the two countries have been majorly impacted.

Trade too has been suspended even though the supply of “life-saving medicines” is exempted from restrictions.

Vaccine diplomacy could be a key to unlocking the ties.

To mention, Pakistan has approved second vaccine — Chinese pharma Sinopharm’s Covid vaccine — for emergency use in the country. The Drug Regulatory Authority of Pakistan (Drap) on Monday approved Chinese state-owned firm Sinopharm’s Covid-19 vaccine for emergency use — the second shot to be given approval for use in the country — a report in the Dawn said.

The Oxford University-AstraZeneca Covid-19 vaccine was the first vaccine to be authorised by the Drap on Friday.