NEW DELHI: External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar on Monday reached the US for a five-day visit. He is likely to have discussions with his US counterpart Antony Blinken on securing vaccine ingredients.Jaishankar, in the first leg of his visit, will meet UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres in New York. This will be their first in-person meeting since India assumed a non-permanent seat at the UN Security Council, for a two-year term beginning January 1.
The external affairs minister will proceed to Washington DC to hold discussions with Blinken. It will be the second meeting between them in less than a month. Jaishankar and Blinken had met on the sidelines of the G8 foreign ministers’ meeting in London. It is expected that the minister will urge US to release raw materials for vaccines.According to sources, of the 350 materials required for the production of Covid-19 vaccines, around 200 are sourced from the US. Production of Johnson & Johnson vaccines in India is also likely to be discussed. The decision to this effect was taken at the first ever summit of Quad leaders in March, 2021.
Jaishankar will also interact with representatives of US businesses which have led an initiative, supported by the Biden administration, to send assistance to India to combat the second covid-19 wave in India. It is likely that he will also meet representatives of Pfizer, a company that is in talks with the government to supply its vaccine to India. Reports have emerged which suggest that the two sides have not been able to reach an agreement on the indemnity clause.