Gift from a ‘trusted friend’, says Bhutan’s PM Dr Lotay Tshering after receiving Indian COVID-19 vaccines

New Delhi: Bhutan on Wednesday (January 20, 2021) became the first country to receive “Made in India” COVID-19 vaccines with an Indian Air Force’s AN32 landing in the country with 1,50,000 doses of it. 

Following the delivery, Bhutan’s Prime Minister Dr Lotay Tshering while receiving the vaccine expressed that it is a gift from a ‘trusted friend’ who has been with Bhutan all through the decades and in this pandemic too.

PM Lotay also said, “As we celebrate the arrival of the vaccine as the new milestone in our battle to beat the pandemic at home, we applaud the gesture that signifies the compassion and generosity of the Prime Minister of India Narendra Modi, and the people of India for the wellbeing of the humanity.”

The Bhutanese PM pointed out that India reached out despite challenges it faces and said, “It is of unimaginable value when precious commodities are shared even before meeting your own needs, as opposed to giving out only after you have enough.”

He added, “It is the display of altruism at best, and an exhibit of India’s sincerity in the relationship we cherish. These will all translate into the prayers and prosperity of the people of India, emanating from the grateful hearts of Bhutan.”

Bhutan’s Health minister Dechen Wangmo, Foreign secretary Kinga Singye and India’s Ambassador to the country Ruchira Kamboj was also present on the occasion. 

The country received the Oxford-Astra Zeneca vaccine ‘COVISHIELD’ manufactured by the Serum Institute of India within five days of India launching its massive coronavirus vaccination drive. 

The Indian government has assured to cover the two doses requirement of Bhutan’s target population of around 5,33,500 and has committed to deliver the remaining consignments soon.

Amid the coronavirus outbreak, India handed over ten consignments of medical supplies, portable X-Ray machine, essential medicines and medical equipment to Bhutan. Prior to the vaccine delivery, India also organised a training programme for immunization managers, cold chain officers, communication officers and data managers from Bhutan, both at national and provincial levels.

Notably, India will be gifting COVID-19 vaccines to six countries — Bhutan, the Maldives, Bangladesh, Nepal, Myanmar and Seychelles. 

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