India neighbours are increasingly looking to China to fill the gap in their stalled coronavirus inoculation drives, after New Delhi curbed vaccine shipments to battle a fresh and devastating Covid-19 wave at home. China’s Foreign Minister Wang Yi said during a virtual meeting with his counterparts from Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Nepal, Pakistan and Srilanka on Tuesday that Beijing is willing to provide them with stable vaccine supplies through a multilateral framework.
The overtures are a blow to PM Narendra Modi’s much-touted vaccine diplomacy efforts earlier this year that were aimed at countering its larger neighbor, China. India had sent tens of millions of doses around the world. Yet despite being home to the world’s largest vaccine industry, India paused those exports as it struggles to inoculate its own population, while daily infection rates smash through global records and thousands die each day.
What Bangladesh said?
Bangladesh’s Foreign Minister AK Abdul Momen at a briefing in Dhaka on Tuesday complained about India, its sole supplier, Reneging on its pledge at a time when the country in experiencing a sharp spike in infections. India’s other main rival in the region, Pakistan, is already predominantly using Chinese vaccines.