If there was one quarter from where appreciation of India's Coronavirus fightback and its efforts to roll out vaccines was to be least expected, that would be Beijing.

But a recent report published in the Chinese government mouthpiece Global Times cited the country's experts as suggesting that India's vaccines are no less competitive than the Chinese variant, both in terms of research and production capacity.

The report noted that India is the world's largest vaccine manufacturer.

Admitting that the Indian vaccines were more trustworthy globally, the report quoted Jiang Chunlai from the Jilin University's School of Life Sciences who had visited the Bharat Biotech facility some time back as saying that India had a "very mature production and supply capacity".

"India has the world's largest vaccine manufacturer Serum Institute of India that has a very mature production and supply capacity, even stronger than some Western countries," the Global Times report quoted Jiang as saying.

"Indian vaccine manufacturers also have a much earlier cooperation with global institutes including WHO, GAVI and the Pan American Health Organization in South America (PAHO), and earned their trust decades ago," he said, adding, "They take a closer approach to Western standards in vaccine development and regulation that has also helped their exports." 

Boost before biggest vaccination drive

The Chinese state media's acknowledgement comes just days before India is scheduled to kick off the first phase of the world's largest Coronavirus immunisation programme.

India will roll out two vaccines -- Covishield and Covaxin -- on January 16, 2021, after the forthcoming festivals.

Priority will be accorded to an estimated 3 crore healthcare and frontline workers following which those above 50 years of age and the under-50 population groups with co-morbidities, numbering around 27 crores will be vaccinated.

India has already conducted three vaccination dry runs during which over 61,000 programme managers, 2 lakh vaccinators and 3.7 lakh vaccination team members have been trained at the states, districts and block levels.

Vaccine Diplomacy: Advantage India

With India reposing its faith in Serum Institute of India and Bharat Biotech's vaccines, other countries too are reaching out for the Coronavirus cure.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi has asserted that India is ready to protect humanity from the pandemic.

Addressing the diaspora at the Pravasi Bharatiya Diwas event on Saturday, PM Modi said, "Today, India is ready to protect humanity with not one but two 'Made in India' Corona vaccines." 

"Being the world's pharmacy, India has delivered essential medicines to every needy in the world in the past and is still doing it. The world is not just waiting for India's vaccine today, but is keenly watching how India runs the world's largest vaccination program."

Nepal has already expressed interest in securing Indian vaccines on priority. The modalities of the vaccine export are in concluding stages.

Bangladesh government has already signed a deal with the Serum Institute for 30 million doses of vaccines.

Even Bhutan and Myanmar are in the priority list of vaccine export from India.

Chinese experts believe that vaccine diplomacy will boost India's image in the region.