New Delhi [India], April 8 (ANI): India has denied third party involvement in the shipment of COVID-19 vaccines to Paraguay. This comes after some media reports suggested that India had sent vaccine shipment to Paraguay on the insistence of Taiwan.
According to reports, Taiwan accused China of using an offer of COVID-19 vaccines to lure Paraguay, one of just 15 countries that formally recognize the self-governed island, to break off diplomatic relations.
Clearing the air on vaccine supply to Paraguay, spokesperson of the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) Arindam Bagchi said the vaccines were sent following a request by the South American country.
"I think we are all aware India is an opening embassy in Paraguay. During a telephonic conversation between the External Affairs Minister and the Foreign Minister of Paraguay, a request for the vaccine was made by Paraguay and EAM responded positively to the request. Subsequently, shipment of made in India vaccines was sent to Paraguay, I would like to confirm that no third party was involved in this." he said.
India shipped 100,000 Covaxin doses to Paraguay on March 26, which it terms of a gift from the Indian government.
A Reuters report quoted Taiwan Foreign Minister Joseph Wu as saying that China had dangled vaccines as a lure to the Paraguay government.
"The Chinese government was very active in saying to the public that if the Paraguay government is willing to sever ties with Taiwan, they will be able to get quite a few million vaccines from China," Wu said.
"In the last few weeks, we have been speaking to like-minded countries, including Japan, the United States, India, etc., and India, fortunately, has been able to provide some Covaxin vaccines to Paraguay," Wu said, referring to a shot developed by India's Bharat Biotech and a state research institute. (ANI)