Two lakh coronavirus vaccines for UN Peacekeepers sent by India arrived in Danish capital Copenhagen on Sunday morning. External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar tweeted: "Ensuring safer Peacekeeping. Made in India vaccines land in Denmark for @UNPeacekeeping personnel. #VaccineMaitri"
India had sent 200,000 doses of Covid-19 vaccines as a gift for UN peacekeepers on Friday. These are sufficient to vaccinate the nearly 95,000 UN Peacekeeping personnel with the mandated two doses.
Jaishankar had announced the decision to provide vaccines as a gift to the UN Peacekeepers in the UN Security Council in February this year. Jaishankar had said: “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 also quoted the Bhagavad Gita, saying: "Do your work with the welfare of others always in mind."
UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres has thanked India for providing the vaccines.
Under-Secretary-General for Peace Operations Jean-Pierre Lacroix welcomed India’s support. Lacroix said: "An effective roll-out of the Covid-19 vaccine to all peacekeepers is a key priority for the United Nations in order to protect our personnel and their capacity to continue their crucial work, help protect vulnerable communities and deliver on their mandates.”
UN Resident Coordinator in India, Renata Desalien, “heartily” thanked India for its “generous gesture of solidarity and support”. She said: “This step, especially for the United Nations, reflects India's strong commitment to global peace and multilateralism.”
Under-Secretary-General for Operational Support Atul Khare too expressed his gratitude. Khare is leading the UN initiative to support national efforts in vaccinating UN civilian personnel and family members.
The UN Peacekeepers, also called Blue Helmets, are currently deployed in 12 locations across the world. Besides maintaining peace between warring parties, they also hold activities related to peacebuilding and conflict prevention.
India is one of the largest contributors of troops and police to UN peacekeeping missions. It has currently deployed more than 5,000 men and women in nine missions, including The Democratic Republic of the Congo, South Sudan and Lebanon.
India has emerged as the top responder for providing coronavirus vaccines across the world. It began with both gifts and commercial supplies to its neighbours in South Asia and then expanded the operations to countries as far as Latin America and Africa.
India has developed its own vaccine - Covaxin.
Numerous Indian companies are in the process of producing vaccines in collaboration with well-known research institutions as well as pharmaceutical companies of the West. These include institutions and pharma companies from the USA, UK, Europe and Russia.