Quad Vaccine Initiative: India to manufacture US J&J’s vaccines

By: |
March 12, 2021 3:08 PM

Post COVID-19, in the first ever Leaders summit of the Quad taking place virtually, the focus will be increasing manufacturing capacity of Coronavirus vaccines in India, with funding from other members. Such a move is expected to help in countering the Chinese attempts at widening vaccine diplomacy

covid 19 vaccinationThe number of vaccination centres have been double to 600.

Post COVID-19, in the first ever Leaders summit of the Quad taking place virtually, the focus will be increasing manufacturing capacity of Coronavirus vaccines in India, with funding from other members. Such a move is expected to help in countering the Chinese attempts at widening vaccine diplomacy. Prime Minister Narendra Modi, will participate, along with Prime Minister of Australia Scott Morrison and Prime Minister of Japan Yoshihide Suga, and President of US Joseph R Biden.

What does it mean?

Such an initiative will help India in soon manufacturing the single dose US-developed Johnson & Johnson’s COVID vaccine.

According to sources, the focus of the Quad meeting today is going to be on Vaccines for all, as this will help in fighting the new strains of the virus which are coming. With the four countries pooling in their resources, the backlog of these vaccines will be cleared up and the deliveries will move faster to the Indo-Pacific and South East Asia region.

How?

The plan is to create additional manufacturing capacities to the existing facilities in India. This means that while the US will be developing the vaccine, it will be manufactured in India, countries including Japan and the US will be financing this and Australia will support it.

How will this help?

With the Quad focusing on the Vaccine Initiative, it will help in fostering quick global economic recovery which has been impacted due to the global shut down in 2020 due to the COVID-19. This will also help in creating a template for peace, cooperation and prosperity in the Indo-Pacific region.

Such an initiative is expected to help in expediting the delivery of the vaccines globally and with the focus of Indo-Pacific region will help in meeting the demand-supply gap, focusing on the Indo-Pacific region.

India –Pharmacy of the World

While it will help in expanding India’s Vaccine Maitri, it will also help in strengthening India’s position as a trusted, reliable manufacturer and supplier of quality vaccines.

Background on Quad

It is a dialogue platform of like-minded countries — India, the US, Japan and Australia. These countries have growing convergences in strategic and security perceptions, especially in the Indo-Pacific region. And together they all share certain attributes like democracy, pluralism and market-based economy.

Is there a Secretariat?

No, there is no institutionalized secretariat. All the discussions among these countries are focused mainly on the emerging global challenges and geopolitical issues.

How did the idea of Quad form?

These four countries together formed a core group `Quad’ in 2004 for a joint response to the Indian Ocean tsunami to undertake rescue and relief operations. This jointness in relief operations is the core identity of the Quad – which is looking at the collective welfare and security for the people of the Indo-Pacific.

How does Indo-Pacific fit in the Quad?

Prime Minister Narendra Modi enunciated India’s approach to the Indo-Pacific in his speech at the Shangri-La Dialogue in 2018. Through India’s doctrine of SAGAR: Security and Growth for All in the Region, the Indo-Pacific Region – from the eastern shores of Africa to the western coasts of the Americas – will be engaged more deeply.

The salience of the Quad has run in parallel with the emergence of the Indo-Pacific as a key strategic region. In view of the growing similarity of assessments about geopolitical dynamics in the region, the Quad dialogue resumed at the official level after a decade in 2017.

Since then twice officials from the Ministry of External Affairs at the Joint Secretary level have been participating in the Quad Senior Official Meetings. So far under Quad seven SOM have been held. The most recent was in December 2020, virtually.

The US in 2018 acknowledged the strategic significance of the Indo-Pacific when it renamed the US Pacific Command (PACOM) as INDO-PACOM. This was then followed by several countries in Europe publishing their Indo-Pacific strategies, in recognition of the political and economic weight of the region. This led to the first ever Foreign Ministerial meeting of Quad countries in New York on the sidelines of the UNGA in September 2019.

Last October, in the midst of the global pandemic of COVID-19, in October External Affairs Minister Dr S Jaishankar had participated in the second Quad Foreign Ministerial meeting in Tokyo. The focus of this meeting was of strengthening of efforts to combat the global pandemic, deepening of cooperation in maritime security, HADR, supply chain resilience and counter-terrorism. And responding to climate change.

Under the Biden administration, the third Quad Foreign Ministerial meeting was held virtually on February 18, 2021. The US Secretary of State Antony Blinken participated in the meeting virtually. This took place within a month of the new administration in the US assuming office. Also, earlier this year, for the first time the four countries appointed Sherpas to coordinate Quad-related issues and from India, Foreign Secretary Harsh Shringla is the Sherpa.

In its Interim National Security Strategic Guidance document which was released earlier this month, the Biden Administration has acknowledged the significance of the Indo-Pacific region. And while emphasizing commitment to Quad engagement, and has gone on to appoint Indo-Pacific Coordinator in the US National Security Council who will coordinate their Indo-Pacific strategy.

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