The Maldives has thanked India for the financial assistance of $250 million -- "the single largest financial assistance from a donor" -- to support the island nation amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
"The pandemic has also highlighted the importance of global cooperation. In the Maldives, without the support of our friends, our bilateral and multilateral partners, we would not be able to continue weathering this storm, Minister of Foreign Affairs of Maldives Abdulla Shahid said in his address to the General Debate of the 75th Session of the United Nations General Assembly on Tuesday.
"I thank all our partners who have generously extended financial, material and technical support during this crisis, even when they themselves are going through challenging times. One such example is India. The recent budget support of 250 million US dollars, was the single largest financial assistance from a donor during this pandemic," he said.
The minister said as nations work towards finding a vaccine, Maldives hopes that every person who needs it will have access to it. That we will work together to ensure equitable access.
This month, India provided the financial assistance of $250 million to Maldives to help it mitigate the economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Indian embassy in Maldives had said in a statement.
Frequently Asked Questions
A vaccine works by mimicking a natural infection. A vaccine not only induces immune response to protect people from any future COVID-19 infection, but also helps quickly build herd immunity to put an end to the pandemic. Herd immunity occurs when a sufficient percentage of a population becomes immune to a disease, making the spread of disease from person to person unlikely. The good news is that SARS-CoV-2 virus has been fairly stable, which increases the viability of a vaccine.
There are broadly four types of vaccine — one, a vaccine based on the whole virus (this could be either inactivated, or an attenuated [weakened] virus vaccine); two, a non-replicating viral vector vaccine that uses a benign virus as vector that carries the antigen of SARS-CoV; three, nucleic-acid vaccines that have genetic material like DNA and RNA of antigens like spike protein given to a person, helping human cells decode genetic material and produce the vaccine; and four, protein subunit vaccine wherein the recombinant proteins of SARS-COV-2 along with an adjuvant (booster) is given as a vaccine.
Vaccine development is a long, complex process. Unlike drugs that are given to people with a diseased, vaccines are given to healthy people and also vulnerable sections such as children, pregnant women and the elderly. So rigorous tests are compulsory. History says that the fastest time it took to develop a vaccine is five years, but it usually takes double or sometimes triple that time.
The grant, provided under the most favourable terms possible, was in response to the request made by President Ibrahim Mohamed Solih to Prime Minister Narendra Modi to overcome the difficult economic situation in the Maldives.
The financial assistance was announced first during a virtual meeting with External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar and provided through a Treasury Bond sale to the State Bank of India (SBI), Male which has a tenure of 10 years for repayment, the statement said.
According to the statement, the India-Maldives partnership is unique and the COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted this.
India will continue to stand by the people and government of Maldives during these difficult times, the embassy said. The $250 million budgetary support showcases the resilience and reliability of the India-Maldives relationship.
India's 'Neighbourhood First' policy and the Maldives' 'India First' policy have worked in tandem during the COVID-19 pandemic to safeguard the well-being of both peoples.
India had provided substantial and continued assistance to the Maldives during the COVID-19 pandemic. A team of doctors and specialists visited the Maldives in March to assist in COVID-19 preparedness.
A consignment of 5.5 tonnes of essential medicines was donated in April, another consignment of 6.2 tonnes of medicines was airlifted from four Indian cities to Male by the Indian Air Force, and 580 tonnes of food aid was provided in May.Follow our full coverage of the coronavirus pandemic here.