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India will ‘do its best’ to get COVID-19 vaccines to Canada, says PM Narendra Modi

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OTTAWA —
Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi says his country “will do its best” to help Canada get COVID-19 vaccines but stopped short of making any specific guarantee that India would ship doses to Canada.

Canada is also not among 25 countries cleared by the Indian government to receive exported doses of AstraZeneca’s vaccine this month, though federal officials indicated last week Canada’s shipments weren’t expected to start arriving until at least April.

The Serum Institute of India has a contract with AstraZeneca to make at least one billion vaccine doses, and Health Canada is currently reviewing the manufacturing processes at the facility as it works to greenlight the AstraZeneca vaccine for use on Canadians.

Modi says on Twitter that Prime Minister Justin Trudeau called him today and the pair discussed vaccines, climate change and the global economic recovery.

Earlier today, Trudeau said Canada and India are working as partners against COVID-19 but didn’t mention any plans to speak to Modi.

Trudeau and Modi have a frequently tense relationship, including Trudeau’s troubled trip to India in 2018, and more recently India’s anger over Trudeau’s public support for farmers protesting new laws passed by the Indian government.

Was happy to receive a call from my friend @JustinTrudeau. Assured him that India would do its best to facilitate supplies of COVID vaccines sought by Canada. We also agreed to continue collaborating on other important issues like Climate Change and the global economic recovery.

— Narendra Modi (@narendramodi) February 10, 2021

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Feb. 10, 2021.

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