New Delhi: Two American military aircraft on Friday brought to India large amounts of emergency medical supplies as part of the Joe Biden administration’s support to the country’s fight against a devastating wave of the coronavirus pandemic. The first consignment of the supplies was brought to Delhi in a C-5M Super Galaxy, one of the largest strategic airlift aircraft of the US Air Force, while the second shipment was delivered by a C-17 Globemaster.
The medical supplies included 423 oxygen cylinders with regulators, 210 pulse oximeters, 17 large oxygen cylinders, 8,84,000 Abbott rapid diagnostic test kits and 84,000 N-95 face masks, officials said. Hours after the shipments were delivered to India, External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar held a telephonic conversation with US Secretary of State Antony Blinken, focusing on India’s requirements of medical supplies. In a couple of tweets, Jaishankar said his discussions with Blinken focussed on Indian requirements to address the COVID-19 challenge “more effectively”.
“Reviewed the flow of equipment and material from the US. Highlighted the importance of strengthening oxygen supply, expanding vaccine production and increasing Remdesivir supply. Appreciated the forthcoming response of the US in this regard,” he tweeted. On his part, Blinken said he reiterated to Jaishankar continued US support for COVID-19 relief efforts in India. “Spoke with @DrSJaishankar to share my condolences and reiterate continued US support for COVID-19 relief efforts in India. The US government has stepped up to help our partners, just as the American private sector, NGOs, and citizens have also helped to meet this challenge,” he tweeted.
External Affairs Ministry Spokesperson Arindam Bagchi said healthcare partnership between India and the US can help effectively tackle the global pandemic. “A strategic partnership of global significance! Our healthcare partnership can help effectively tackle the global pandemic. Deeply appreciate gift of 423 oxygen cylinders with regulators and other medical supplies from the USA,” he said after landing of the first US aircraft. As India battles a devastating second wave of coronavirus pandemic, countries around the world have announced sending medical supplies to help it tide over the situation.
Several other countries also delivered to India medical supplies that included 280 oxygen concentrators and 40 ventilators from the UK and 700 oxygen concentrators and 365 ventilators from Ireland. Romania too supplied 80 oxygen concentrators, 75 oxygen cylinders and 20 high-flow humidify oxygen therapy devices, officials said. Several other countries including France, Germany, Australia, Belgium, Luxembourg, Portugal, Sweden, New Zealand and Kuwait are also sending assistance to India. On Thursday, Russia delivered to India 20 tonnes of medical supplies mainly comprising oxygen concentrators, ventilators and medicines.
According to European Union officials, Italy, Finland and Austria are also sending medical supplies to India. “We are working around the clock to channel EU assistance to India. It is in everyone’s interest to support efforts at tackling the latest outbreak in the country,” said EU’s Commissioner for Crisis Management Janez Lenarci. “I thank France, Italy, Austria, Finland and Ireland for their latest offers of assistance. EU solidarity is fully in action,” he said. Various EU member countries are sending assistance under the bloc’s Civil Protection Mechanism.