India’s Foreign Minister S Jaishankar hit out at criticism that the government was exporting COVID-19 vaccines without meeting domestic demand, saying that the argument was ‘short-sighted’ and ‘irresponsible’. The statement on Monday comes a day after former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh – in a letter to PM Narendra Modi – demanded that the status of vaccine orders be made public.

Talking at the National Leadership Conclave, Jaishankar said that India has to follow the order of global supply chains.

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 “As a foreign minister, I’m pushing other countries particularly some big countries, saying – look, please keep the raw materials flowing for vaccines to be made in India. The fact is that there’re global supply chains. Can I go around the world and tell people – guys, keep your supply chains flowing towards me? I’m asking you for raw materials but I’m not going to give vaccines. Look at the vaccine itself. Today, your largest vaccine under production is an international product,” he said.

The Foreign Minister affirmed that the citizens of India are still the center’s priority when it comes to vaccination distribution.

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“It’s not that we aren’t prioritizing our people. As things got tough, we spoke to the world and said – we tried our best to live up to commitments but please understand that we have a very serious situation at home and most of countries understand that. If you ask why are you exporting (vaccines) at all, somebody will ask — why am I exporting to India. That is so short-sighted. Only non-serious, irresponsible people can make that argument,” Jaishankar added.

India reported 261,500 fresh cases on Sunday taking the tally to over 14.78 million.