Washington: US Secretary of State Antony Blinken Friday spoke with External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar to reaffirm the strength of the bilateral partnership in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic, his spokesperson said.
The Biden administration has re-directed its own order of AstraZeneca manufacturing supplies to India. This will allow India to make over 20 million doses of COVID-19 vaccines, the White House said.
According to a fact sheet issued by the White House, the US is providing the first tranche of a planned 20,000 treatment courses of the antiviral drug remdesivir to help treat hospitalised patients.
India is struggling with a second wave of the pandemic with more than 3,00,000 daily new coronavirus cases being reported in the past few days, and hospitals are reeling under a shortage of medical oxygen and beds.
“Expressing his appreciation for Indian assistance in America’s time of need, Secretary Blinken reviewed comprehensive ongoing US government efforts in support of the Indian government’s COVID-19 response operations,” State Department Spokesperson Ned Price said.
During the call, Price also noted the outpouring of support from US industries, non-governmental institutions, and private citizens for COVID-19 relief efforts in India, Price said.
“The Secretary offered condolences and noted our concern for those who have lost friends and loved ones during this difficult period,” he said in a readout of the call.
This was the first call between the two leaders after the arrival of the first American flight with COVID-19 relief materials in India.
“Just concluded a call with @SecBlinken. Our discussions focussed on Indian requirements to address the Covid challenge more effectively,” Jaishankar said in a tweet.
“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 said.
The US has said that it will be delivering COVID-19 relief materials worth over USD 100 million to India in the coming days US state governments, private companies, non-governmental organisations, and thousands of Americans from across the country have mobilised to deliver vital oxygen-related equipment and essential supplies for Indian hospitals to support frontline healthcare workers and the people most affected during the second wave of coronavirus.
In the past few days, the US Chamber of Commerce has mobilised support, brought together partners from other industry bodies and coordinated with the US government to deliver critical medical supplies to India.
Significant additional supplies of medical equipment are being dispatched by the private sector.