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'Modi a friend', US to donate ventilators to 'friends in India', says Trump

To aid the US in its fight against coronavirus, India had last month allowed the export of 50 million hydroxychloroquine tablets on US President Donald Trump's request

Coronavirus | Donald Trump | Lockdown

Agencies  |  Washington DC 

Donald trump
File Photo: Prime Minister Narendra Modi with US President Donald Trump

US President on Friday said the United States would donate ventilators to India to support the country's fight against the pandemic. He also said that both the US and India were cooperating on vaccine development in order to beat the "invisible enemy."

Trump wrote on his Twitter page, "I am proud to announce that the United States will donate ventilators to our friends in India. We stand with India and @narendramodi during this pandemic. We're also cooperating on vaccine development. Together we will beat the invisible enemy!"

There is a "tremendous Indian population in the United States, many of the people you are talking about are working on the vaccine too. Great scientists and researchers," he said.

Trump also underlined the close partnership between the two countries and called Prime Minister Narendra Modi his "good friend".

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"India has been so great and as you know your prime minister has been a very good friend of mine. I just got back a short while ago from India and we are very much together," the US President said, referring to his visit to New Delhi, Ahmedabad and Agra in February.

At Trump's request, India had last month allowed the export of 50 million hydroxychloroquine tablets to treat Covid-19 patients in America, the country worst hit by the pandemic.

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Trump had announced a team to develop and manufacture a vaccine for the novel at 'Warp Speed' and that the US will be able to deliver a few hundred million doses of the vaccine by the end of this year.

He said the 'Operation Warp Speed' is evaluating 14 vaccine candidates and that $10 billion will be put into the project, which will be run by a four-star Army general Gustave Perna and the former GlaxoSmithKline vaccine head Dr Moncef Slaoui.

"I have very recently seen early data from a clinical trial with a vaccine and this data made me feel even more confident that we'll be able to deliver a few hundred million doses of vaccine by the end of 2020 and we will do the best we can," Trump said during a press conference on Friday.

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During a press briefing, White House Press Secretary Kayleigh McEnany said, "The president just extolled our great relationship with India. India has been a great partner to us for quite sometime. I am encouraged to hear ventilators to India."

She said India would be among several countries that would getting the ventilators.

At 1,427,867, the United States currently has the highest case count of coronavirus infections in the world, and 86,386 fatalities, also the highest. Meanwhile, India's Covid-19 count has surpassed that of China to stand currently at 85,784, including 52,773 active cases and 2,753 deaths, according to Worldometer. So far, 30,258 patients have been cured/discharged.

First Published: Sat, May 16 2020. 07:33 IST