The Ministry of External Affairs on Sunday said it is in continuous touch with all foreign embassies in India and responding to their medical demands, especially those related to COVID-19. MEA Spokesperson Arindam Bagchi said the response to medical demands of the embassies included facilitating treatment in the hospital even as he urged all not to hoard essential supplies including oxygen.
Earlier, External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar hit out at Congress leader Jairam Ramesh after he said on Twitter that the youth wing of the Congress was attending to SOS calls from foreign embassies and wondered whether the MEA was "sleeping".
Ramesh also shared a video posted on Twitter by Indian Youth Congress national president Srinivas B V that showed a mini pickup van entering the embassy of the Philippines in Delhi, carrying oxygen cylinders.
"MEA checked with the Philippines Embassy. This was an unsolicited supply as they had no Covid cases. Clearly for cheap publicity by you know who. Giving away cylinders like this when there are people in desperate need of oxygen is simply appalling," Jaishankar tweeted.
"Jairamji, MEA never sleeps; our people know across the world. MEA also never fakes; we know who does," he said in another tweet.
Srinivas tweeted the video with the caption "#SOSIYC members at Embassy of the Philippines in New Delhi."
In his comments, Ramesh complimented the Indian Youth Congress. "While I thank @IYC for its stellar efforts, as an Indian citizen I'm stunned that the youth wing of the opposition party is attending to SOS calls from foreign embassies. Is the MEA sleeping @DrSJaishankar?" he tweeted.
In his statement, Bagchi said the MEA is responding to the medical demands by the foreign missions. "The chief of protocol and heads of divisions are in continuous touch with all high commissions/embassies and MEA is responding to their medical demands, especially those related to Covid. This includes facilitating their hospital treatment," he said.
"Given the pandemic situation, all are urged not to hoard essential supplies, including oxygen," Bagchi said, responding to media queries.
Hospitals across the national capital are reeling under a severe shortage of medical oxygen due to the massive surge in COVID-19 cases.