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US says it's 'working nonstop' to deliver supplies India needs for Covid-19

'We have always stood in solidarity with our friends and our partners in India,' says State Department.

Coronavirus Vaccine | Jill Biden | Serum Institute

Press Trust of India  |  Washington 

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The Biden administration is working nonstop to do all it can to deliver on an urgent basis the supplies most needed by India to combat the deadly COVID-19 wave, the US State Department said here.

The current situation in India is of great concern to the United States, State Department spokesperson Ned Price told reporters at his daily news conference on Monday.

"We have always stood in solidarity with our friends and our partners in India," he added.

"We are working nonstop across the government to do all we can to deliver on an urgent basis the supplies most needed within India, and that includes oxygen assistance and related materials, but it also includes supplies for therapeutics, rapid diagnostic test kits, ventilators, personal protective equipment, or PPE, all supplies to protect India's frontline healthcare workers," Price said.

The assistance includes raw materials urgently required for the manufacture of the Covishield vaccine, he said.

The US is also deploying an expert team of public health advisers from the CDC to work in close collaboration with the US embassy on the ground, India's health ministries and its epidemic intelligence staff.

On Monday, US President Joe Biden spoke with Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

"The Secretary (of State) Tony Blinken has had an opportunity in recent days to speak to his counterpart, Foreign Minister Jaishankar. Jake Sullivan, the national security adviser, spoke to his counterpart," Price said.

Wendy Sherman, Deputy Secretary of State, spoke to her counterpart as well, he added.

"We have been doing that to demonstrate our solidarity with the Indian government, with the Indian people, but also to hear about the needs of the Indian government and to assess, based on our own capacity, what more we could do," Price said.

Responding to a question, Price said India is a priority given that the country is experiencing a horrific outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic.

"We have a global comprehensive strategic partnership with India. But the secretary has been clear this is not about shots in arms in return for political favours, in return for any sort of transactionalism. This is about America's humanitarian leadership, the commitment that this administration has to help those most in need," Price said.

"Of course, what India is enduring now is profoundly concerning on so many levels. And so, that's why you see not only the United States stepping up, but other countries in the region well beyond stepping up to attempt to help and do all we can to help India in its time of need," he said.

From the earliest days of this pandemic, the United States has provided much needed assistance to India, just as India came to our aid to when the US was in the worst phase of the outbreak, he said.

"Since the beginning of the pandemic, the United States has provided nearly USD19 million in total assistance, and that includes nearly USD11 million and health assistance to help India so the spread of COVID-19," Price said.

The American assistance has helped India provide care for the affected, disseminate essential public health messages to various communities, strengthen the epidemiological surveillance capabilities, mobilise innovative financing mechanisms for emergency preparedness and response to the pandemic, he said.

The CDC has also committed USD3.6 million to assist the government of India's response to the epidemic.

"We recognise that, as the current outbreak has taken incredibly concerning turns in India, that there was more we could do. And we, in consultation with our Indian partners, have determined that the steps I referred to earlier are available to us, and they would be of great benefit to our partners in India," Price added.

(Only the headline and picture of this report may have been reworked by the Business Standard staff; the rest of the content is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

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First Published: Tue, April 27 2021. 06:00 IST