Prime Minister Narendra Modi said on Monday that he had a conversation with US President Joe Biden on the Covid-19 situation, underscoring that a partnership in health care between India and the US can address the challenges arising out of the pandemic.
“Had a fruitful conversation with @POTUS @JoeBiden today. We discussed the evolving COVID situation in both countries in detail. I thanked President Biden for the support being provided by the United States to India,” Modi tweeted.
The telephonic conversation between the two leaders came a day after the US pledged support to India, which is battling a worrying surge in Covid-19 cases and setting grim global milestones in infection count every passing day.
The US has said it has identified sources of raw materials urgently required for making Oxford-Astrazeneca’s Covishield vaccine in India and assured quick supply. The country will also supply rapid diagnostic test kits, ventilators and Personal Protective Equipment (PPE). It is also looking at options to provide oxygen generation and related supplies on an urgent basis.
“My discussion with @POTUS @JoeBiden also underscored the importance of smooth and efficient supply chains of vaccine raw materials and medicines. India-US healthcare partnership can address the global challenge of COVID-19,” Modi said in another tweet.
A press note by the government said the “two leaders agreed to remain in regular touch”.
They discussed “India’s ongoing efforts to contain the second wave of COVID-19 through expedited vaccination efforts, and ensuring supply of critical medicines, therapeutics and healthcare equipment,” it said.
India has decided to expand its vaccination drive by including all adults from May 1. At present only those above 45 years, and health care and front line workers are eligible.
“President Biden conveyed solidarity with India and affirmed that the United States was determined to support India’s efforts by quickly deploying resources such as therapeutics, ventilators and identifying sources of raw materials to be made available for the manufacture of Covishield vaccines,” the press note added.
PM Modi conveyed his “heartfelt appreciation for the offer of assistance and support” from the US and mentioned India’s commitment to contain the pandemic globally through “Vaccine Maitri, and its participation in COVAX and the Quad Vaccine Initiatives”.
Both leaders underlined the potential of the India-US partnership in vaccine development and supply to address the Covid-19 pandemic, and directed their respective officials to maintain close coordination and cooperation in their efforts in this domain, the press note said.
Separately, the White House said President Biden committed “that the United States and India will work closely together in the fight against COVID-19” even as the two leaders “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 President 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. Prime Minister Modi expressed appreciation for the strong cooperation between both countries,” it said.