Foreign secretary holds meeting with US Charge D' Affaires

The meeting came days after U.S. Vice President Kamala Harris called up Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

Foreign Secretary Harsh Vardhan Shringla on Wednesday held talks with U.S. Charge D’Affaires Daniel B Smith focusing on ways to combat the coronavirus pandemic including supply of COVID-19 vaccines.

External Affairs Ministry Spokesperson Arindam Bagchi said regional issues, and cooperation in the United Nations also figured in the "productive meeting".

"Foreign Secretary @harshvshringla had a productive meeting today with US Acting Ambassador Daniel B. Smith @USAmbIndia about India-US relations, regional issues & cooperation in the UN; also discussed Covid19 situation, supply of vaccines & cooperation in combating the pandemic," he tweeted.

The meeting came days after U.S. Vice President Kamala Harris called up Prime Minister Narendra Modi and apprised him about the Biden administration’s plans to make COVID-19 vaccines available to India and several other countries.

Following the phone conversation, the Ministry of External Affairs said that the two leaders discussed ongoing efforts to strengthen the health supply chain between the U.S. and India, including in the area of vaccine manufacturing.

Last week, President Joe Biden announced that the U.S. will allocate 75 % – nearly 1.9 crore of the first tranche of 2.5 crore doses – of unused COVID-19 vaccines from its stockpile through the UN-backed COVAX global vaccine sharing programme to countries in South and Southeast Asia as well as Africa.

Recently, the Charge D’Affaires of the U.S. embassy had said the U.S. was looking at joint production of Johnson and Johnson’s COVID-19 vaccines in India and ways to help manufacturers like the Serum Institute of India (SII) to boost production.

As India was facing a rapid increase in coronavirus infections, the U.S. sent six planeloads of life-saving supplies in support of the country’s fight against the pandemic.

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