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January 18, 2021: Briefings from South Asia

1) India to send vaccines to neighboring countries soon

· With its COVID-19 vaccination on the roll, India plans to ship the vaccines to its neighboring countries in a couple of weeks as a goodwill gesture.

· Stating its “neighborhood-first” policy, India’s Foreign minister S. Jaishankar has assured of vaccines available to the neighboring countries soon.

· Two Indian companies, Serum Institute of India and Bharat Biotech, are mass-producing COVID-19 vaccines in collaboration with the vaccine makers.

2) Border talks only after map dispute issue sorted-India

· The Indian side has hinted to the visiting Nepalese foreign minister Pradeep Gyawali that it will not be business as usual with Nepal until the border row is sorted.

· Foreign Minister Gywali had stressed the importance of resolving the boundary dispute issue twice- in a public address and interaction with journalists.

· Nepalese Prime Minister KP Sharma Oli had made the boundary talks the prime reason for the Gyawali visit.

3) Pakistan gave a green signal to India-manufactured COVID-19 vaccine

· Pakistan’s Drug Regulatory Authority of Pakistan (Drap) approved India manufactured COVID-19 vaccine.

· Pakistan is a member of “Covax” since April 2020, which is an alliance set up by the Global Alliance for Vaccines and Immunisation (GAVI), Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations (CEPI), and WHO.

· Pakistan is hoping to get the first batch of vaccines post-March, 2021. It is also expected that Pakistan will register the Chinese state-owned firm Sinopharm’s medicine next week.

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