US determined to help India in ‘hour of need’ amid COVID-19 surge: Kamala Harris

Washington: Asserting that the welfare of India is critically important to the United States, US Vice President Kamala Harris on Friday said Washington is determined to New Delhi in “its hour of need” amid a COVID-19 surge in the country.

Addressing an event, Harris said that the surge of COVID-19 infections and deaths in India is nothing “short of heartbreaking”.

“As many of you know, generations of my family come from India. My mother was born and raised in India. And I have family members who live in India today. The welfare of India is critically important to the United States,” she said, while addressing the event titled: ‘Bolstering US COVID-19 Relief Effort in India: Perspectives from the Diaspora’.

The Vice President extended deepest condolences to those who have lost their loved ones to the COVID-19.

Harris reminded that India sent assistance when US hospital beds were stretched and now Washington is determined to help India “as friends, as members of Asian Quad and as part of the global community”.

“At the beginning of the pandemic, when our hospital beds were stretched, India sent assistance. Today, we’re determined to help India in its hour of need. We do this as friends of India, as members of the Asian Quad and as part of the global community. I believe that if we continue to work together – across nations and sectors – we will all get through this,” she said.

Harris has noted that the US has announced its “full support” for suspending patents on COVID-19 vaccines – to help India and other nations vaccinate their people more quickly.

“On Monday, April 26, President Joe Biden spoke with the Prime Minister to offer our support. By Friday, April 30, U.S. military members and civilians were delivering relief on the ground,” she said.

“Already, we have delivered refillable oxygen cylinders, with more to come. We have delivered oxygen concentrators, with more to come. We have delivered N95 masks, and have more ready to send. We have delivered doses of Remdesivir to treat COVID patients,” she added.

Recently, the White House announced that the US will be delivering medical supplies worth more than USD 100 million in the coming days to India to provide urgent relief as the country battles a new wave of COVID-19 cases.

Under the immediate emergency COVID-19 Assistance, Washington is providing 1700 oxygen concentrators, an initial delivery of 1,100 cylinders, multiple large-scale Oxygen Generation Units to support up to 20 patients each, to India.

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 the COVID-19 vaccine.