Expressing concern over a massive surge in COVID-19 cases in India, a Congresswoman has written to US President Joe Biden urging him to accelerate America’s assistance to India in terms of oxygen cylinders, ventilators, BiPAP machines and surplus vaccines. “Over the past several weeks, I have heard from constituents who fear for the health and safety of their family members in India. They worry that their loved ones will join those who are unable to locate oxygen or seek the care they need from overwhelmed hospitals and a healthcare system on the verge of collapse,” Congresswoman Deborah Ross said in a letter to Biden.
In her letter, Ross thanked Biden for ordering the delivery of supplies worth more than USD 100 million to provide urgent relief to India.
From oxygen systems and personal protective equipment (PPE) to rapid diagnostic tests and therapeutics, the US support for India is a testament to the seven decades of partnership between the two countries, she said.
“Helping India respond to this latest wave is in our national interest, as this pandemic will not end anywhere until it ends everywhere. As India continues to combat this surge, I hope you will consider providing additional shipments of oxygen cylinders, oxygen concentrators, oxygen generator plants, remdesivir, tocilizumab, and ventilators/BiPAP machines,” Ross said.
India, she said, desperately needs health supplies, most notably oxygen and oxygen production equipment. The images and stories of patients in desperate need of oxygen with nowhere to turn put a human face on the country’s urgent need for this equipment, she added.
Ross represents the Second Congressional District of North Carolina, which has a sizable number of Indian-American population.
Observing that the US must also work to ensure vaccines are accessible in India, the Congresswoman welcomed recently announced plans to make available sources of raw materials to help the country manufacture more vaccines.
She urged Biden to share with India surplus doses of vaccines purchased by the US as soon as possible.
“I also understand that India is eager to domestically produce high-quality US vaccines, and I hope that you work with the private sector to assess how the US can best support India in this effort,” she said.
Ross said as long as COVID-19 persists in India, there is a potential for the emergence of new variants that could pose a serious threat to a vaccinated America.
“We all must do our part to quell this virus around the globe. I thank you again for your commitments to date to support our ally India through this COVID-19 crisis, and I look forward to continuing to work with you to advance the US-India relationship,” Ross said.
Chair of the Committee on Science and Tech Congresswoman Eddie Bernice on Tuesday had a virtual meeting with India’s Ambassador to the US Taranjit Singh Sandhu.
“A strong relationship between the United States and India is critical to address the broad range of challenges we face today. Pleased to speak with Indian Ambassador Sandhu about our shared values and priorities in the fields of science and technology,” Bernice said.
The two among others discussed India-US partnership in the areas of scientific R&D, including in vaccines, therapeutics, emerging technologies and climate change, Sandhu said in a tweet.
“My heart breaks for all who’ve lost their lives and been impacted by the surge of COVID19 in India,” said Senator Gary Peters.
“I support President Biden’s decision to send emergency assistance and resources to support the people of India. We should continue to provide support, as India works to slow the spread,” he tweeted.
(With PTI inputs)