In the last few years, especially after the election of Boris Johnson as the UK Prime Minister in 2019, India and the United Kingdom have strengthened their partnership and cooperation in almost all sectors. Capitalising on this friendship, the Modi government has convinced the UK government to allow 50 lakh doses of Covidshield vaccine that India was bound to export to London, to be used in India to vaccinate the people of the age between 18 to 44.
“The stock of 50 lakh doses of Covishield vaccine is now available for inoculation of 18-44 age group people in 21 states and UTs,” said an official.
The UK has successfully vaccinated most of its citizens and is not in urgent need of vaccine doses. Therefore, the Modi government has convinced it to allow the use of these doses in India.
Previously Serum Institute of India, the leading global manufacturer of vaccines, promised an investment of 240 million pounds to expand vaccine manufacturing facilities in the UK. Given the fact that SII is expected to remain the topmost supplier of vaccine to many countries around the world including Europe, the setting up of manufacturing units in the UK is a win-win partnership because this can be utilised to supply doses to European countries and at the same time, UK wins a great investment opportunity that would create job opportunities.
“The sales office is expected to generate new business worth over USD 1 billion, 200 million pounds of which will be invested into the UK,” said the British Government in a press release.
“Serum’s investment will support clinical trials, research & development and possibly manufacturing of vaccines. This will help the UK and the world to defeat the coronavirus pandemic and other deadly diseases. Serum has already started phase one trials in the UK of a one-dose nasal vaccine for coronavirus, in partnership with Codagenix INC,” it added.
A few days ago, External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar on Thursday held bilateral discussions with his UK counterpart, Dominic Raab, and discussed India-UK Enhanced Trade Partnership (ETP), which is supposed to pave the way for a free trade deal between the two countries.
From the extradition of fugitive Nirav Modi to the cooperation of security, education, trade, research – the United Kingdom under Boris Johnson has welcomed India with both hands and India has reciprocated the same.
The United Kingdom has officially invited PM Modi to attend the G-7 summit which is scheduled to be held in the country’s Cornwall region in June. For the uninitiated, the G-7 is a grouping of the world’s leading democratic economies and comprises — UK, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the USA — and the European Union. This year’s G7 summit will discuss the Wuhan virus pandemic, climate change and open trade.
The growing cooperation between the two countries is also forcing the neighbouring block of the European Union to enhance cooperation due to fear of losing access to a big market. Recently European Union agreed to resume the EU-India free trade agreement talks after a halt of eight years.
The growing bonhomie between India and the United Kingdom would prove mutually beneficial for both countries given the fact that they are the fifth and sixth largest economies of the world and are expected to make great contributions to the world in the coming years.