Seven million Covid-19 vaccines produced in India are headed to Pakistan as part of what Indian media call “vaccine diplomacy.” AstraZeneca’s Covishield vaccine will be distributed to the public as part of Pakistan’s free Covid-19 vaccination drive, according to Pakistan health officials.
Journalists in India and Pakistan shared their thoughts on this news development.
Reena Bhardwaj, New Delhi, India: “Health diplomacy may be the restart button to India Pakistan relations.”
Attiq Ahmad, Islamabad, Pakistan: “It is a great start but unfortunately we are living in extremist societies where people prefer to die rather than getting help from the enemy. We saw this attitude in 2005 Earthquake in Pakistan and same response came from India during Earthquake and floods in India. Let's hope for the best.”
Naveen S Garewal, Chandigarh, India: “Indian vaccine to Pakistan will tell Pakistan that it can depend on India and does not have to look at China for everything.”
Devina Buckshee, Mumbai, India: “We need more transparency on the vaccines in India at the moment, more data on their safety and we need to listen to concerns from HCW. But it’s great that India is ready to distribute to other developing countries since we do have a strong vaccine production network.”
Rabia Ahmed, Lahore, Pakistan: “People are still skeptical about vaccine as too much propaganda going around.”
Saman Iqbal Khan, Lahore, Pakistan: “Pakistan imports most of the medicines from India and even the raw materials import from India. So there should be no questions on it. If media highlights that point than can avoid any kind of rumours about the vaccine in public.”
Wisal Yousafzai, Peshawar, Pakistan: “Everyone even doctors were confused about the vaccine…as the vaccine has no surety that it will prevent you from covid.”
Lubna Jerar Naqvi, Karachi, Pakistan: “We have seen cross border cooperation at different times - earthquakes, school attacks etc. Vaccine to break down barriers, heal relations.”
Shreya Pareek, Bengaluru, India: “It’s a great step and shows that in times of need we all need to come together. However, I also think it won’t change much when it comes to relations between the two countries as the entire politics feeds on being each other’s enemies.”
Pratyush Ranjan, Delhi, India: “Governments on both sides should put aside the conflicts and come together for the larger interests of the common people living on both sides of the border. India is running world's biggest Covid vaccination programme and exporting the vaccines to many countries, including the South Asian Nations. Prime Minister Narendra Modi branded the move as “VaccineMaitri” - Vaccine Friendship. This is the time both India and Pakistan should talk on starting a massive vaccination drive in Pakistan. Safe and Health life of people should be top priority for the people sitting in Governments.
Tanmoy Bhaduri, Kolkata, India: “Vaccine breaks barrier, hope climate action reunites both countries.”
Zeeshan Javaid, Islamabad, Pakistan: “Indeed Vaccination diplomacy exists. Interesting thing is...The test case should be initiated by vaccination to Prime Minister or Special Assistance to PM but it was tested on a doctor, despite knowing the fact that the vaccination works 86%...It was a curiosity...”
Ashwini Shrivastava, New Delhi, India: “ ‘Vaccine diplomacy’ can herald a new chapter in Indo-Pak ties. Hope the vaccine kills the animosity and adds to amity!”
Shahzada Irfan Ahmed, Lahore, Pakistan: “It's good that Pakistan is accepting Indian origin vaccines. They used to import meningitis vaccine of India. So it’s not a new phenomenon. Lives are more important than anything else, even national egos.”
Syed Sibte Hassan Rizvi, Karachi, Pakistan: “Covid 19 is a global issue. Let’s fight together not with each other but with covid.”
Jayashree Nandi, New Delhi, India: “People first :)”
George Kallivayalil, New Delhi, India: “Positive side of the devastating Pandemic is the vaccine diplomacy and fighting together by most nations. Great peace initiative of healing touch by India. India has already sent Covid Vaccines to UAE and other countries other than immediate neighbours.”
Dr. Bilal Pandow, Srinigar, Kashmir: “I see this as a positive development. In the present testing times, neighbours ought to support each other to fight the battle against COVID-19.”
Faiz Paracha, Islamabad, Pakistan: “It's great and vaccination from China already started.”
Najia Balouch, Karachi, Pakistan: “Together we are strong, great move towards peace.”