India-Sri Lanka bilateral relations will witness a momentous occasion today when a consignment containing 5 lakh doses of COVISHIELD vaccines manufactured by the Serum Institute of India will reach Colombo. This gift of Covid-19 vaccines to Sri Lanka is a part of India’s “Vaccine Maitri” initiative under which India has gifted vaccines to seven other countries in the region.
This humanitarian gesture amid the pandemic showcases India’s commitment to its “Neighbourhood First” Policy and SAGAR doctrine in which Sri Lanka has a prominent place. The delivery of the Covid-19 vaccines to Sri Lanka is a fulfillment of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s commitment made to his Sri Lankan counterpart Mahinda Rajapaksa during the virtual bilateral summit held in September last year. Sri Lanka approved emergency use of the vaccine on 23 January this year.