Making good on its promise, the first flight from the US carrying urgent COVID-19 relief materials for India left the Travis Air Force Base late on Wednesday. They are scheduled to arrive in India by today or tomorrow.
Over $100 million worth of relief materials will reach India in the coming days, the White House said. “US state governments, private companies, non-government organisations and thousands of Americans from across the country have mobilised to deliver vital oxygen-related equipment and essential supplies to Indian hospitals during the current outbreak,” the White House stated.
The current shipment includes, according to multiple news reports, 440 oxygen cylinders and regulators, generously donated by the state of California, USAID said. In addition, on this first flight, USAID is sending 9,60,000 Rapid Diagnostic Tests to identify infections early to help prevent the community spread of COVID-19, and 1,00,000 N95 masks.
US India Caucus leadership meets Indian Ambassador
Leaders of the influential Congressional India Caucus held a virtual meeting with India’s ambassador to the US to discuss the COVID-19 crisis and the proposed waiver to certain provisions of the World Trade Organization’s (WTO) Agreement on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS) for the pandemic.
Congressman Brad Sherman, Democratic Co-Chair of India Caucus in the US House of Representatives, said talks were held with Ambassador Taranjit Singh Sandhu about the crisis unfolding in India. “As Democratic co-chair of the India Caucus, I am of course committed to helping India at this critical time,” Sherman said.
The two vice-chairs of the India Caucus, Congressmen Ro Khanna and Michael Waltz, were also present in the meeting. In a tweet, Khanna said the US India Caucus was supporting the urgent need for oxygen and PPE. “Ambassador said India has manufacturing capacity.
They along with 59 countries like South Africa need a TRIPS waiver to pay to license the vaccine formula. We need to support,” Khanna said. During the meeting, the ambassador briefed the Congressmen on the situation in India and also the various measures being taken to increase the availability of medical oxygen in the country. Sandhu briefed them on the response of the administration to the crisis in India and shared the requirement of essential items. The ambassador also spoke about the QUAD summit and the increasing cooperation with the US and other Quad countries.