France announced on Monday that it will send additional medical supplies, including around 16 large oxygen generation plants, to India to support the country’s fight against the second wave of the coronavirus pandemic. The announcement was made by the French embassy days after French President Emmanuel Macron held a telephonic conversation with Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
French ambassador Emmanuel Lenain said there cannot be a global victory against the coronavirus without India. This is the “largest solidarity operation” that France has carried out since the outbreak of the pandemic and it reflects the long-standing, two-way solidarity between the two countries that lies at the “heart of our strategic partnership”, the French embassy said.
It said a special cargo plane with 10 oxygen generation plants will reach India in mid-June and another plane will follow. Each of these French-made, high-capacity plants produces 24,000 litres of the life-saving gas per hour and can make a 250-bed Indian hospital self-reliant in oxygen for a dozen years, it said in a statement.
“At the request of President Emmanuel Macron, France is bringing in additional support to India to continue fighting the second wave together. Several shipments are underway, which will double the support provided so far,” the embassy said. It said France and India have set up an oxygen bridge across the Indian Ocean to bring liquid oxygen donated by French multinational Air Liquide, adding that the Indian Navy has already brought 180 tonnes of liquid oxygen using the facility.
“France will deliver at least twice as many oxygen generation plants as the eight already delivered early May. A special cargo flight with 10 units will reach India mid-June and another flight will follow,” it said. It further added that several hundred oxygen concentrators as well as high-grade ventilators will reach India in the coming days.
“As discussed between President Macron and Prime Minister Modi in their May 26 call, France is doubling its support to India against the pandemic. It shows the solidarity of the French people, who have not forgotten that India helped us when France faced its first wave,” Lenain said. “There cannot be a global victory against the virus without India. Together, we can show the way of international cooperation against the pandemic and the need for a multilateral response,” he added.
The embassy said the solidarity mission is being carried out using resources of the French government, over 50 French companies operating in India and the Indo-French Chamber of Commerce and Industry. “In addition, gestures of solidarity have poured in from French individuals, NGOs, private companies and French regions. In total, the combined support amounts to more than Rs 55 crore,” it said.
On May 2, France delivered 28 tonnes of ready-to-use medical supplies, including eight large oxygen plants, to India as part of the first phase of its solidarity mission. As India battles a devastating second wave of the coronavirus pandemic, around 40 countries have sent medical supplies, including oxygen-related equipment, to help it tide over the situation.
Besides France, the leading countries that have supplied assistance to India include the US, Russia, Germany, Australia, Ireland, Belgium, Romania, Luxembourg, Singapore, Portugal, Sweden, New Zealand, Kuwait and Mauritius.