India Starts Donating Covid-19 Vaccines to Neighboring Countries

India Starts Donating Covid-19 Vaccines to Neighboring Countries

India setting itself up as go-to supplier for vaccines while aiming to counterbalance China’s rising profile

NEW DELHI—India has started donating millions of doses of vaccine to its South Asian neighbors, using its position as a vaccine manufacturing hub to strengthen its ties in a region where China has been wielding increasing influence.

India announced this week that it is giving a million doses of vaccine to Nepal, 2 million to Bangladesh, 100,000 to the Maldives and 150,000 to Bhutan. It also plans to give 1.5 millions doses to Myanmar and 50,000 doses to Seychelles as early as Friday, said government officials, and begin commercial exports of the two vaccines which have received emergency approval and are already being mass produced in India.

As part of its attempts to counterbalance China’s rising profile in Asia and elsewhere, India is trying to tighten its ties to South Asia, Africa and Latin America by setting itself up as the go-to supplier for vaccines, said Sreeram Chaulia, dean at O.P. Jindal Global University’s School of International Affairs in Sonipat, India.