Merkel held out what was perceived in some quarters as a veiled threat on the issue of India calibrating Covid-19 vaccine exports since last month in order to focus on its domestic immunisation programme. Germany is among the European countries affected by a slowdown in exports of the AstraZeneca vaccine made by the Serum Institute of India (SII).
“We now have a situation with India where, in connection with the emergency situation of the pandemic, we are worried whether the pharmaceutical products will still come to us,” Merkel was quoted as saying by Politico while participating in an online conversation on Wednesday.
“Of course, we have only allowed India to become such a large pharmaceutical producer in the first place, also from the European side, in the expectation that this should then also be complied with. If that is not the case now, we will have to rethink,” she added.
Observers noted Merkel’s comments came against the backdrop of several European countries themselves banning exports of vaccines, and at a time when India is registering a record number of infections – 332,730 as of Friday – and is struggling to cope with the surge.
Source: Hindustan Times