External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar, who is currently on a visit to United States, is scheduled to meet US Defence Secretary Lloyd Austin at the Pentagon on Friday, the Pentagon Press Secretary John Kirby said.
Jaishankar arrived in the US on May 24, and is slated to visit many senior officials, including Secretary of State Antony Blinken, during his stay till May 28.
India is engaged in talks with various US entities involved in Covid vaccines production and is looking forward to procuring and subsequently producing these vaccines. The issue of vaccine procurement is expected to be a key agenda item during Jaishankar’s interaction with US leadership and other stakeholders.
The US has already announced that it is going to distribute 80 million vaccines from its stockpile to countries in need.
US is playing a lead role in assisting India’s fight against the COVID-19 virus. It has already provided large oxygen plants, concentrators, critical medicines like Remdesivir and also raw materials for vaccine manufacturer Serum Institute of India (SII), which is manufacturing Covishield.
US is also backing India sponsored proposal on TRIPS waiver at the WTO.
The TRIPS waiver aims to increase global vaccine production in order to take on the challenge of vaccinating the poorest of the poor and save lives.
In October last year, India and South Africa, along with 57 members of WTO proposed a waiver from certain provisions of the TRIPS agreement for prevention, containment, and treatment of the coronavirus. EAM Jaishankar met his US counterpart Antony Blinken in early May in London during G7 Foreign Minister’s meeting.