The United States on Friday (local time) dispatched the third set of its several emergency COVID-19 relief shipments to India. Arriving in New Delhi with COVID-19 relief supplies from the Dulles International Airport in the national capital region, the carrier is en route to the Indira Gandhi International Airport. The US carrier has onboard oxygen cylinders, test kits and other supplies and is expected to land in New Delhi after a brief haul in Munich according to USAID.
On Friday just before the flight's departure the White House's National Security Council coordinator for the Indo-Pacific, Kurt Campbell, Indian Ambassador to the United States Taranjit Singh Sandhu, Director for South Asia in White House's National Security Council Sumona Guha and Jeremy Konyndyk at the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) were present at the Dulles airport for a brief press interaction.
President Joe Biden sought an update from Campbell on the swiftly evolving situation in India. "I was able to give a sense of what USAID is doing and what it hopes to accomplish, He (President Biden) said great, stay with it," Campbell noted.
The senior White House Official also highlighted the exchange between President Biden and Prime Minister Narendra Modi during the press gaggle calling it a "warm conversation", Campbell asserted.
The aircraft deployed from Dulles is the US federal government third flight providing aid to India. The second flight with similar supplies lifts off from California earlier in the day. And flights like these will continue into next week airlifting urgent supplies like oxygen support, personal protective equipment, and rapid diagnostic tests to India.
"The administration starting from right on top, President Biden reached out and quoted that United States will stand shoulder to shoulder with India and we appreciate that," the Indian envoy Taranjit Sandhu told reporters.
"I'm sure with friends and partners like the United States we will face this challenge and with God's Grace we will come out if it." Sandhu further added.
Earlier on Friday two US government assistance flights arrived in India and the fourth flight with aid is also scheduled to leave for India soon.
Earlier this week Biden reaffirmed that US is determined to support India in its efforts to contain the pandemic during the talks. And he quickly deployed resources, and adding oxygen equipment supplies, therapeutics, medics, ventilators and other critical material for vaccine manufacturing.
US will be sending supplies worth more than $100 million to India, including 1,000 refillable oxygen cylinders, 15 million N95 masks, and 1 million rapid diagnostic tests. The Biden administration has also redirected its own order of AstraZeneca manufacturing supplies to India, which will allow it to make over 20 million doses of COVID-19 vaccine. So efforts are on till these supplies land at the Indira Gandhi airport.
US Department of Defense, USAID, Department of State and the White House are working in sync to provide relief to India.
"So, while we are we are sending oxygen through some of these airlifts, we are also trying to support an expansion of the medical oxygen supply chain within India, so that there need not to be any sort of reliance on these sorts of foreign shipments of oxygen equipment but rather within what exists within the Indian Health System, that it will be able to meet the needs in a more sustainable way going forward. So that's where we're trying to get to in partnership with our Indian Government counterparts and with the Indian Health System," noted Jeremy Konyndyk from USAID.
More than 40 countries including the US have committed to sending vital medical aid, particularly oxygen supplies.
(With ANI inputs)