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January 6th 2021: Briefings from South Asia

1) All India vaccine rollout will begin next week

• Health Secretary Rajesh Bhushan mentioned that India's Government will roll out the COVID-19 vaccine by next week. The Indian regulator granted the Emergency Use Authorisation on January 3.

• Two variants of vaccines got authorized. First is the Serum Institute of India for Covishield, the vaccine developed by Oxford University and Astra Zeneca. Second is Bharat Biotech that has developed Covaxin in collaboration with the Indian Council of Medical Research.

• It can be anticipated that India's neighboring countries might get the vaccine at first on a rolling basis from India, showing India's "Neighborhood First" policy.

2) Unilateral Action by China on LAC: Ministry of Defence, India

• Ministry of Defence, in its year-end review of 2020, accused China of unilateral and provocative actions to change the status quo by force in more than one area of the disputed border named LAC.

• The Defence ministry further accused China of using "unorthodox weapons" in the violent clash on June 15, which led to both sides' casualties.

• Both India and China have deployed over 50,000 soldiers close to the border.

3) Sri Lanka-China joint projects to attract investments in 2021: Governor, Central Bank of Sri Lanka (CBSL)

• The governor of the CBSL said that the Colombo Port City and the Hambantota Port will attract foreign investments to Sri Lanka and boost growth in 2021.

• The Colombo Port City is a concept jointly developed between Sri Lanka and China Communications Construction Company Limited (CCCC). The Project spans 269 hectares, and it is estimated to be a USD 15 billion investment upon completion in 2041.

• The Hambantota Port began its operation on November 18, 2010. In Phase 1 of the construction project, USD 361 million was invested, out of which 85% was funded by EXIM Bank of the People's Republic of China.



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