India today set in motion the process of delivering Coronavirus shots to neighbouring countries and key partners with shipments of the vaccine reaching the Himalayan kingdom of Bhutan and the Indian Ocean archipelago of the Maldives.

An AN-32 aircraft carrying Indian shots arrived in Thimphu in the afternoon to deliver 150,000 doses of Covishield vaccine. Bhutan Prime Minister Lotay Tshering and Indian Ambassador Ruchira Kamboj were present at the ceremony at which the consignment was handed over to Bhutanese officials. Another consignment arrived at Male where it was received by Maldivian officials and Indian High Commissioner Sunjay Sudhir.

The MEA said “supplies under grant assistance” would be shipped to Bhutan, the Maldives, Bangladesh, Nepal, Myanmar and Seychelles while Sri Lanka, Afghanistan and Mauritius await regulatory clearances to receive the vaccines.

Bangladesh said it expected to receive a gift of two million doses of Covishield tomorrow. Dhaka is yet to start its vaccination programme and has ordered a further 30 million doses of the shot.

“The Pharmacy of the World will deliver to overcome the Covid challenge,” External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar said on Twitter.

Prior to the delivery of vaccines to other countries, India also conducted a training programme, covering administrative and operational aspects, for immunization managers, cold chain officers, communication officers and data managers of the recipient nations, both at national and provincial levels.