New Delhi: As many as 40 countries have come out in support of India as it battles the devastating COVID-19 crisis, with a focus on getting liquid oxygen, oxygen generating equipment, tankers to carry it, and medicines. The assistance is a mix of a grant, procuring on the government to government basis, cooperates both international and India, and Indian community associations.
Briefing reporters in Delhi, Foreign Secretary Harsh Shringla said, “there has been an outpouring of solidarity with India, the outpouring of assistance. Over 40 countries, integrated into supply chains globally, have been sourcing equipment..from their sources of supply.”
In the next few days, India is expected to get 550 oxygen generating plants, 4000 oxygen concentrators, 10,000 oxygen cylinders, and 17 cryogenic oxygen tankers. It will be getting 450,000 doses of Remdesivir from Gilead Sciences, 300,000 doses of Favipiravir from countries like Russia, UAE. India is trying to procure Remdesivir from Egypt (4 lakh doses), Bangladesh, Uzbekistan, UAE.
Foreign Secretary explained, “what we want to make sure is that all this equipment that is consigned to India, is expeditiously cleared. There are blanket exemptions from the different taxes, custom duties they would have to normally undergo of such items are coming to India.”
Large support is coming from the 4 countries of the gulf–UAE, Bahrain, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia. A special cargo flight comes from UAE later today with ventilators and Favipiravir. The country will also ship 140 MT of liquid Oxygen. Bahrain will be sending 40 MT of assistance as a gift. This shipment will be sent using Indian Navy ships already in the region and will arrive by tomorrow. When it comes to Kuwait, the country will send 185 Metric Tonnes of Liquid Medical Oxygen in 7 ISO Tanks of 20 MT capacity and 3 semi-trailers of 25 MT capacity each, 1,000 Oxygen Cylinders, Oxygen concentrators. They have also indicated that they would be able to refill the aforementioned ISO tanks/ semi-trailers at least 7 times.
Bangladesh in the region also announced its support to India and will be sending 10,000 vials of injectable anti-viral, oral anti-viral, 30,000 PPE kits, and several thousand zinc, calcium, vitamin C and other necessary tablets. A release from the country’s foreign ministry said, “Bangladesh stands in solidarity with close neighbour India at this critical moment and is ready to provide and mobilize support in every possible way to save lives.” In the neighbourhood, Bhutan will be supplying 40 MT of liquid Oxygen and Mauritius has gifted 200 oxygen concentrators.
The Norwegian government has announced a contribution of USD 2.4 million towards COVID relief in India, to be channelled through the World Health Organization (WHO) and the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC). Norwegian Ambassador to India, Hans Jacob Frydenlund said, “We send our deepest sympathies and support to all our Indian friends…We stand with you in this time of crisis, with the hope that the second wave will recede soon.”
Meanwhile, Romania became the first European Union member country to deliver urgent support of 80 oxygen concentrators and 75 oxygen cylinders to India via the EU Civil Protection Mechanism. The equipment was brought by a Romanian military aircraft. The Romanian foreign ministry in a release said, “Romanian people’s hearts and prayers are with the Indian people in those very difficult moments.” Ireland will be next to send 700 oxygen concentrators.
The first flight to India of assistance from the international community was from the UK on April 27, followed by Russia on April 29. The US assistance comes on Friday, the French support comes on Saturday.
(With inputs from DNA India)
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