US deploys third set of emergency COVID-19 relief supplies to India

The relief supply shipment includes oxygen cylinders, test kits and other supplies and is expected to land in New Delhi after a brief haul in Munich according to USAID.

The United States of America on Friday (local time), dispatched the third batch of its several emergency Covid-19 relief shipments to India. The shipment will arrive in Delhi with the Covid-19 relief supplies from the Dulles International Airport in the national capital region. The carrier is en route to the Indira Gandhi International Airport, reported the news agency ANI.

The relief supplies include oxygen cylinders, test kits and other supplies and are expected to land in New Delhi after a brief haul in Munich according to USAID.

White House’s National Security Council coordinator for the Indo-Pacific, Kurt Campbell, Indian Ambassador to the United States Taranjit Singh Sandhu, Director for South Asia in White House’s National Security Council Sumona Guha and Jeremy Konyndyk at the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) were present at the Dulles airport for a brief press interaction which was held on Friday, just before the flight’s departure.

US President Joe Biden personally sought an update from Campbell on the swiftly evolving situation in India.

Replying to Biden’s queries, Campbell noted, “I was able to give a sense of what USAID is doing and what it hopes to accomplish, He (President Biden) said great, stay with it.”

Furthermore, the senior White House official highlighted the exchange between President Biden and Prime Minister Narendra Modi during the press gaggle and called it “warm conversation”, reported the news agency ANI.

Earlier, the second flight with similar supplies was lifted off from California and flights like these will continue into next week airlifting urgent supplies like oxygen support, personal protective equipment, and rapid diagnostic tests to India.

The recent development comes after India has been witnessing an unprecedented spike in the Covid-19 cases for a few days now – straining the healthcare system. The rising demand for medical supplies across the nation has raised concerns and India is struggling to meet with demands for the extremely crucial medical supplies.

“The administration starting from right on top, President Biden reached out and quoted that the United States will stand shoulder to shoulder with India and we appreciate that,” the Indian envoy Taranjit Sandhu told reporters in a conference held on Friday.

“I’m sure with friends and partners like the United States we will face this challenge and with God’s Grace we will come out of it.” Sandhu further added, as reported by ANI.

The fourth flight with aid from the US government is also scheduled to leave for India soon.

Earlier this week, President Joe Biden reaffirmed that the US is determined to support India in its efforts to contain the pandemic during the talks. He quickly deployed resources, which also included – oxygen equipment supplies, therapeutics, medics, ventilators and other critical material for vaccine manufacturing.

According to an ANI report, the United States is slated to send supplies worth more than $100 million to India, including 1,000 refillable oxygen cylinders, 15 million N95 masks, and 1 million rapid diagnostic tests.

The US government has also redirected its own order of AstraZeneca manufacturing supplies to India, which will allow it to make over 20 million doses of the Covid-19 vaccine. So efforts are on till these supplies land at the Indira Gandhi airport, reported the news agency ANI.

“So, while we are sending oxygen through some of these airlifts, we are also trying to support an expansion of the medical oxygen supply chain within India, so that there need not to be any sort of reliance on these sorts of foreign shipments of oxygen equipment but rather within what exists within the Indian Health System, that it will be able to meet the needs in a more sustainable way going forward. So that’s where we’re trying to get to in partnership with our Indian Government counterparts and with the Indian Health System,” noted Jeremy Konyndyk from USAID.

India is currently reeling under the fury of the novel coronavirus, and more than 40 countries including the US have committed to sending vital medical aid, particularly oxygen supplies.

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