New Delhi: Recalling that India had “sent assistance to the United States as our hospitals were strained early in the pandemic” during the first global wave last year, US President Joe Biden on Monday pledged that his country was “determined to help India in its time of need”, even as 318 Philips Oxygen Concentrators were transported from New York to New Delhi on Monday on an Air India flight.
Meanwhile, in a “summit telephone talk” with Japanese PM Yoshihide Suga on Monday that lasted 25 minutes, Prime Minister Narendra Modi thanked him “for providing assistance to India for combating the pandemic”. New Delhi also said the two leaders highlighted the need for close India-Japan cooperation to overcome the challenges posed by the Covid-19 pandemic, “such as by working together to create resilient, diversified and trustworthy supply chains, ensuring reliable supply of critical materials and technologies”.
“Prime Minister Suga wished for India’s early recovery from the current spread of Covid-19 under the leadership of Prime Minister Modi, and the two leaders concurred that they would work in closer cooperation towards containing the pandemic,” the Japanese foreign ministry said.
US defence secretary Lloyd J. Austin, meanwhile, said he had directed his department “to use every resource at our disposal, within our authority, to support US inter-agency efforts to provide India’s frontline healthcare workers with the materials they need”.
This came hours after US national security adviser Jake Sullivan told India’s NSA Ajit Doval on Sunday evening that the US has “identified sources of specific raw material urgently required for Indian manufacture of the Covishield vaccine that will immediately be made available for India”, and that the US has also “identified supplies of therapeutics, rapid diagnostic test kits, ventilators, and personal protective equipment (PPE) that will immediately be made available for India”. The US is also pursuing options to provide oxygen generation and other supplies on an urgent basis, Mr Sullivan said, adding the US was “working around the clock to deploy available resources and supplies”.
US President Joe Biden tweeted: “Just as India sent assistance to the United States as our hospitals were strained early in the pandemic, we are determined to help India in its time of need.”
US vice-president Kamala Harris tweeted: “The US is working closely with the Indian government to rapidly deploy additional support and supplies during an alarming Covid-19 outbreak. As we provide assistance, we pray for the people of India -- including its courageous healthcare workers.”