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US assistance to India National

Joe Biden, Kamala Harris express support for India amid COVID-19 crisis

Joe Biden. File.   | Photo Credit: AP

After days of being criticised for their silence on the COVID-19 outbreak ravaging India, top officials of the executive branch of the U.S. government, all the way to the Vice-President and President, expressed their solidarity with the country over the weekend.

Also read: Coronavirus | U.S. to send raw material for Covishield

“Just as India sent assistance to the United States as our hospitals were strained early in the pandemic, we are determined to help India in its time of need,” President Joe Biden said on Twitter, posting a statement from National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan.

“Spoke today with National Security Adviser Ajit Doval about the spike in COVID-19 cases in India and we agreed to stay in close touch in the coming days. The United States stands in solidarity with the people of India and we are deploying more supplies and resources,” Mr. Sullivan tweeted on Sunday afternoon, as he posted details of the assistance and relief the U.S. was sending to India.

Earlier in the day, the National Security Council had issued a statement expressing solidarity with India and describing the assistance it was sending.

Vice-President Kamala Harris, who is of Indian descent, also tweeted about the COVID-19 outbreak on Sunday.

Also read: We understand India’s pharmaceutical requirements: Joe Biden

“The U.S. is working closely with the Indian government to rapidly deploy additional support and supplies during an alarming COVID-19 outbreak. As we provide assistance, we pray for the people of India — including its courageous healthcare workers,” Ms. Harris tweeted.

Earlier in the week, U.S. Senators and representatives, as well as specialists at think-tanks and influential Indian Americans had cognised the outbreak in India, which has killed thousands and resulted in oxygen and vaccine shortages. However, public pressure mounted on the Biden administration to offer immediate assistance to address the situation as administration officials, with a few exceptions, had been silent on the issue until the end of the week.

On Saturday, Secretary of State Antony Blinken had said the U.S. would “rapidly” deploy “additional support” to India.

Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin issued a statement of support on Sunday night, saying he had directed his department to use all tools at its disposal to provide India’s frontline workers with assistance. The Defense Department would provide transport and logistics to deliver supplies, including oxygen-related equipment, to India.

“We are in this fight together,” Mr. Austin said.

U.S. Deputy Secretary of State Wendy Sherman said on Sunday that she had been in touch with Indian officials.

“I’ve been in close touch with FS @HarshVShringla and Amb @SandhuTaranjitS in recent days. The American people stand in solidarity with our friends in India during these difficult times. We are rapidly providing therapeutics, ventilators, PPE, raw material for vaccines, and more,” she tweeted.

The (Indian) government has got offers of oxygen, ventilators and medicines from private companies in the U.S. and professional associations, an official told The Hindu. ?Advocacy group UISISPF (the U.S.- India Strategic Partnership Forum) released a statement saying India would receive at least ten containers for transporting oxygen within the country and a “significant shipment” of vaccines directly from pharmaceutical companies.

The organisation said it had placed orders for 100,000 portable oxygen concentrators for home and hospital use, citing significant sourcing challenges due to supply chain disruptions. Several other organisations and individuals are contributing supplies to India or have made offers of assistance.

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Printable version | May 6, 2021 3:02:41 AM | http://www.pastpresenters.com/news/national/coronavirus-joe-biden-kamala-harris-express-support-for-indias-covid-19-crisis/article34409881.ece

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