Jaishankar, Blinken discuss crisis in first in-person meet


By Express News Service

NEW DELHI: External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar and US Secretary of State Antony Blinken met in London late on Monday night and discussed the ongoing Covid-19 crisis and the Indo-Pacific region. This was the leaders’ first face-to-face meeting after having spoken over the phone and virtually previously. “We discussed first and foremost the strong support we are getting from the US on dealing with the Covid situation. We are very, very appreciative of that,” Jaishankar said after the meeting.

Sources said oxygen and related equipment will continue to be a priority between the two countries and that Washington has acted on New Delhi’s request for Remdesivir.  “The leaders discussed how greater Indian vaccine production can address both India’s own needs and the requirement of global public health. India and the US will collaborate bilaterally, in Quad format and through multilateral initiatives for the same,” a source added.

Blinken said the US remembers well when India came to their assistance in the early days of Covid in a very important and powerful way.  So far, the US has sent five consignments of assistance, including oxygen concentrators and other related supplies, to India to deal with the ongoing Covid crisis. Sources said views were also exchanged on the Indo- Pacific strategic landscape. “The conversation brought out the convergence of interests and the ministers reviewed the progress in practical cooperation in recent months,” a source said.              

Army’s Delhi base hospital faces oxygen shortage
New Delhi: The situation at the Indian Army’s Base Hospital in Delhi Cantonment turned distressing on Monday with the oxygen supply getting curtailed by the Delhi government. “The requirement of oxygen at the base hospital is 3.4 MT but the Delhi government was allotting only 1 MT till now. But the problem arose when it was reduced further to 0.42 MT from last night,” an Army officer said. The Army had last week converted the base hospital at Delhi Cantonment area into a Covid-19 hospital to provide “extensive” medical assistance.

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