Pakistan is interested in purchasing 5 million doses of Russia's Sputnik V vaccine against the coronavirus and also wants to discuss potential local production, Foreign Minister Makhdoom Shah Mahmood Qureshi said on Wednesday.
"The Sputnik vaccine was registered in Pakistan and is being applied in Pakistan, it is giving good results, and we are interested in commercial purchase of 5 million doses from Russia ... and I think there are opportunities of local production and joint ventures. There are interested parties," Qureshi said at a press conference after talks with Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov.
According to Lavrov, Russia has so far delivered 50,000 doses of Sputnik V vaccine to Pakistan and 150,000 doses of the vaccine will be delivered in the near future.
Lavrov, on his part, noted that Pakistan's needs in the vaccine are greater than the volume of the deliveries, and therefore "it is all about the ability to produce this vaccine not only in Russia but also in the countries that are our foreign partners."
"Such production has already begun in India, and now it is being launched in South Korea, Belarus and in a number of other countries. Of course, we will be ready to try to help our Pakistani colleagues as much as we can to meet their needs, but here again we have obligations to those countries that had asked us to do so in advance," the Russian minister added.
During the talks, the two ministers discussed bilateral cooperation in various areas, in particular in the energy sector and railroad modernization.
"We have a new area of cooperation related to energy between Rosatom and the Pakistan Atomic Energy Commission. We are now discussing, in practical terms, specific cooperation on non-electric peaceful applications for nuclear energy, particularly in medicine and industry," Lavrov said.
Qureshi noted that they also discussed an opportunity for Pakistan to get a Russian expertise in modernizing Pakistani energy and railways sectors.
The minister concluded that Pakistan is interested in building strong, comprehensive relations with Russia based on trust and friendship.