New Delhi: A day after Taiwan claimed that New Delhi had heeded its request, India on Thursday claimed that “no third party” was involved in its decision to supply COVID-19 vaccine to the South American nation of Paraguay.
At the weekly online briefing, Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) spokesperson Arindam Bagchi prefaced his remarks by noting that India is planning to open an embassy in Paraguay. Currently, Indian ambassador in Argentina is also credentialled to Paraguay.
He noted that India had received a request for vaccines when external affairs minister S. Jaishankar had spoken with his Paraguayan counterpart. “Subsequently, a shipment of Made in India vaccines was sent to Paraguay. I would like to confirm that no third party was involved in this.”
A day earlier, Taiwan foreign minister Joseph Wu had claimed that India had come to the rescue after Paraguay had publicly stated that it had received offers of supply of Chinese vaccines on condition of cutting ties with Taiwan. Paraguay is one of just 15 countries that have diplomatic ties with Taiwan.
“In the last few weeks, we have been speaking to like-minded countries, including Japan, the United States, India, etc., and India fortunately has been able to provide some Covaxin vaccines to Paraguay,” said the Taiwan foreign minister on Wednesday.
Meanwhile in Beijing, Chinese foreign ministry spokesperson Zhao Lijian had to field a question on Taiwan’s claim that India was providing vaccines to Paraguay to stave off China.
“It is customary practice for the Taiwan authorities to measure other people’s corn by their own bushel,” he said.
He claimed that China’s efforts to help countries with vaccination was in contrast to the “despicable trick of Taiwan authorities attempting to buy so-called ‘international space’ with money”.
“Attempts to take advantage of COVID-19 to seek independence or to pursue “cash diplomacy” are both doomed to fail,” he added on Thursday.