External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar had announced the gift while addressing the UNSC Open Debate on Wednesday

United Nations Secretary General Antonio Guterres has thanked India for its decision to provide 200,000 doses of COVID-19 vaccines as a gift to UN peacekeepers. The decision to gift vaccine doses for the peacekeepers was announced by External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar on Wednesday.

“Keeping in mind the UN Peacekeepers who operate in such difficult circumstances, we would like to announce today a gift of 200,000 doses for them,” Jaishankar said while speaking at a UNSC Open Debate.

The UN Secretary General is “extremely grateful’ for India’s gift of 200,000 Covid-19 doses for peacekeepers, said the Spokesperson to the UN chief Antonio Guterres after Jaishankar’s announcement.

According to UN Peacekeeping, 94,484 personnel are currently serving in 12 peacekeeping operations across the world led by the Department of Peace Operations. This means that the vaccines provided by India should cover the two doses needed for each of the peacekeepers.

Permanent Representative of Rwanda to the United Nations, Ambassador Valentine Rugwabiza tweeted, “The gesture & announcement by India of a gift of vaccines for UN Peacekeepers is much appreciated. Vaccinating #UNPeacekeepers who put their lives on frontlines to protect civilians & Peace agreements is the largest security multiplier in the context of a global COVID-19 pandemic.”

Following the announcement, India’s Permanent Representative to the UN Ambassador T S Tirumurti tweeted, “Protecting the Protectors! External Affairs Minister @DrSJaishankar announces a gift of 200,000 doses of vaccines for UN peacekeepers at #UNSC. India responds immediately to request of @UN Secretary General @antonioguterres.”

India’s Deputy Permanent Representative to the UN Ambassador Nagaraj Naidu tweeted “External Affairs Minister @DrSJaishankar in solidarity with @UNPeacekeeping announces India’s gift of 200,000 doses of #COVID19Vaccine for all @UN peacekeepers.”

Speaking at the UNSC Open Debate, Jaishankar pointed out that India had been very much at the forefront of this global fight against COVID-19 pandemic. “We had earlier provided critical medicines, diagnostic kits, ventilators and PPEs to more than 150 countries, about 80 of them on a grant basis. Today, the pharmacy of the world is stepping forward to meet the global vaccines challenge,” he said.

Highlighting that under the initiative of Vaccine Maitri, India provides vaccines to the world, he said India is a significant source of supply to the COVAX facility. But in addition, India is also directly sending vaccines to friends and partners.

“Starting with our immediate neighbours, 25 nations across the world have already received Made in India vaccines. 49 more countries will be supplied in the coming days, ranging from Europe, North America, Latin America, the Caribbean to Africa, South-East Asia and the Pacific Islands,” the External Affairs Minister stated.

Taking a leaf from the Indian holy book, the Bhagavad Gita, Jaishankar remarked, “Do your work with the welfare of others always in mind.”