‘India helped us when we were in a bind,’ says US President Joe Biden

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The United States is rushing a whole series of help, including life-saving drugs and machinery, that India needs to combat the massive surge in COVID-19 cases, US President Joe Biden has said, as he recalled how India had come to America’s assistance when it was in a 'bind' due to the pandemic.

Biden spoke at length with Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Monday and conveyed solidarity with India in its fight against the viral disease.

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'We are sending immediately a whole series of help that he needs, including providing for those Remdesivir and other drugs that are able to deal with this,' Biden told reporters at a White House news conference on Tuesday.

'We are sending the actual mechanical parts that are needed for the machinery they have to build a vaccine, and that is being done as well,' he said.

Biden said he had discussed with Prime Minister Modi when the US would be able to send actual vaccines to India.

The Biden administration has come under criticism from several quarters, including from members and supporters of the Democratic Party, for not releasing surplus COVID-19 vaccines to India when the country is experiencing its worst-ever public health crisis.

'The problem is right now, we have to make sure we have other vaccines like Novavax and others coming on probably, and I think we will be in a position to be able to share vaccines as well as know-how with other countries who are in real need,' Biden said.

'I might add when we were in a bind in the very beginning, India helped us,' Biden said, referring to India, the largest producer of hydroxychloroquine, lifting the ban on the export of the medicine to the US after then President Donald Trump spoke to Modi on phone last year.

On Sunday Biden had tweeted that '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.' On Monday, Biden assured Modi that the United States and India will work closely together in the fight against COVID-19.

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Biden pledged America’s steadfast support for the people of India who have been impacted by the recent surge in COVID-19 cases.

In response, the United States is providing a range of emergency assistance, including oxygen-related supplies, vaccine materials, and therapeutics.

Biden and Modi resolved that the United States and India will continue to stand shoulder-to-shoulder in the effort to protect our citizens and the health of our communities, the White House said in a readout of the telephonic conversation between Biden and Modi.

UNGA expresses solidarity with India

Meanwhile, Volkan Bozkir, President of the 75th session of the United Nations General Assembly, on Monday expressed solidarity with India saying that the country that went at lengths to provide aid to other countries of the world, ensuring vaccine for all, was reeling under the deadly pandemic.

Voicing concern about India’s battle with the hard-hitting COVID-19 variant surge, Bozkir said, “I’m worried about the COVID-19 situation in India”.

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Urging other nations to ramp up the medical aid to the southeastern Asian nation that was quick to provide domestically manufactured vaccines to all, Bozkir said: “It’s time for the world to extend aid and support to India.” Further he warned, “No one’s safe until we’re all safe.”

The UN diplomat extended well wishes for the people of India standing strong against the hardship as he said, “My thoughts are with India and Indian people.”

With inputs from PTI, Agencies


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