Fri, 23 Apr 2021

Saint John's [Antigua and Barbuda], March 1 (ANI): Antigua and Barbuda Prime Minister Gaston Alfonso Browne on Monday thanked Prime Minister Narendra Modi for demonstrating an "act of benevolence, kindness and empathy" by sending 175,000 AstraZeneca vaccines to the Caribbean countries.

"Today several Caribbean countries, including Antigua and Barbuda, received 175,000 AstraZeneca vaccines from India. Of the 175,000 doses of COVID-19 vaccines, 40,000 were donated to the people of Antigua and Barbuda. For this, we are extremely grateful. PM Narendra Modi has demonstrated perhaps the most significant act of benevolence, kindness and empathy that was seen in recent times compared to any act of any other leader globally," Browne said, hours after Made-in-India coronavirus vaccines reached Antigua for Antigua and Barbuda, St Kitts and Nevis, St Lucia, St Vincent and Grenadines and Suriname.

The Antigua and Barbuda PM said he was 'overwhelmed' after receiving the vaccines from India, which itself has to administer over a billion vaccines to its citizens.

"Despite having its own problems, India that has a population of about 1.367 billion people would obviously require to administer over billion vaccines in order to achieve herd immunity. However, notwithstanding its own requirements, India made several million vaccines available to developing countries globally," he said.

Referring to the Bible, the Prime Minister said, "On behalf of the people of the Caribbean, I wish to take this opportunity to personally thank PM Modi for this act of benevolence. The Bible has taught us to share, in fact, the good book indicated that we should love our neighbours as we love ourselves and it is evident that India is practising this principle of helping its neighbours."Browne further said that India is assisting the Caribbean countries even though it is "not exactly neighbours of India as we are located in western hemisphere while India is in the northern hemisphere".

Earlier, External Affairs Minister (EAM) S Jaishankar said in a tweet, "Keeping our CARICOM commitment. Made in India vaccines arrive at Antigua for Antigua and Barbuda, St Kitts and Nevis, St Lucia, St Vincent and Grenadines and Suriname."Saint Kitts and Nevis PM Timothy Harris received 20,000 COVID-19 vaccines at the St Kitts airport from the High Commissioner of India, India in Guyana informed in a tweet.

Meanwhile, 40,000 doses of COVID-19 vaccines that arrived in St Vincent and the Grenadines were received by PM Ralph Gonsalves.

Speaking on the bilateral relations between India and Antigua and Barbuda, PM Browne said, "We continue to strengthen our bilateral relations with India. We consider India as a significant development partner for Antigua and Barbuda.""Earlier, India had donated USD 1 million last year to assist us in our fight against COVID-19. In the Caribbean, India made a contribution to the development of the Caribbean people. About two years ago, India had donated USD 14 million to various Caribbean countries to assist us with our response to climate change. It is good that even though India is an advanced developing country that it continues to look out for other developing countries globally," he added. (ANI)

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