Quad vaccine partnership, raw material supply, resumption of travel on agenda

Amiti Sen New Delhi | Updated on July 25, 2021

Others issues such as trade, opportunities in healthcare, education, and security will also be discussed

Promoting the Quad vaccine partnership between the US, India, Australia and Japanfor producing at least a billion doses of Covid-19 vaccines by the end of 2022 for the world, is likely to be one of the top agenda for US Secretary of State Antony Blinken during his visit to India later this week.

New Delhi will push for ensuring open and consistent supply chains for materials and items required for vaccine production and may take up the issue of vaccines supplies from the US, which was expected in July but was delayed, a source tracking the matter told BusinessLine.

Global travel

India will also press for gradual resumption of international travel, while maintaining health protocols, especially easing mobility of students, professionals, business travellers, family reunions and humanitarian cases, the source added.

Blinken, scheduled to meet Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Minister of External Affairs S Jaishankar on July 27-28, is on his first visit to India after assuming office.

“The US is keen to discuss with India ways to move ahead with execution of plans for producing a billion vaccines by 2022 under the Quad vaccine partnership initiative launched earlier this year. It will be an important move to counter China’s growing influence in the Asia-Pacific region and India is serious about the partnership, but it also wants to ensure supply of vaccines and raw materials from Washington,” said the source.

Since India is preparing to ramp up vaccine production both for domestic needs and global supplies, an open and consistent supply chains for inputs is absolutely necessary, the source added.

Vaccine supply

The Indian side is also likely to discuss the hitches in the supply of the promised doses of vaccines from the US and seek an early resolution of issues resulting in the delay. “The Centre has been in discussions with US companies, including Pfizer, Moderna and Johnson & Johnson, on various that include indemnity against compensation for adverse effects. The US side may be apprised of these and an early resolution sought,” said the source. Resumption of travel with all precautions will be an important agenda item for India as students, businesses and other travellers were facing huge challenges due to the continued restriction. “India will try to sort out how travel could be normalised between the two countries without risking a further spread of the Covid-19 virus,” said the source.

In the area of defence, both sides will discuss ways to deepen collaboration through policy exchanges, exercises, and defence transfers and technologies. “Matters related to defence will be be covered in greater detail during the fourth 2+2 Ministerial Dialogue due in the US later this year,” said the source.

Secretary Blinken’s visit reciprocates the visit by Jaishankar to the US in May 2021. The two leaders have also had detailed conversations this year in the UK (at the G-7 meeting) and Italy (at the G-20 meeting).

Published on July 25, 2021

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