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Hind Al Soulia - Riyadh - Saudi Gazette report
WASHINGTON — US Secretary of State Antony Blinken has spoken with Indian Foreign Minister Dr. S. Jaishankar on Friday to reaffirm the strength of the US-India partnership in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic, Ned Price, the spokesman of the US Department of State, said in a statement on Friday.
“Expressing his appreciation for Indian assistance in America’s time of need, Secretary Blinken reviewed comprehensive ongoing US government efforts in support of the Indian government’s COVID-19 response operations,” Prince said in the statement.
The US secretary of state also noted the outpouring of support from US industries, non-governmental institutions, and private citizens for COVID-19 relief efforts in India.
Blinken offered condolences and noted our concern for those who have lost friends and loved ones during this difficult period.
Meanwhile, the United States has delivered more than $100 million in medical supplies to India.
The medical supplies were donated to India by the US government through the US Agency for International Development, the US Department of Defense said in a statement on Friday.
In the coming week, more oxygen cylinders will be sent, as will oxygen concentrators, oxygen generation units, additional personnel protective equipment, rapid diagnostic tests and therapeutics. The US is also providing vaccine manufacturing supplies. In fact, the US has redirected its own order of AstraZeneca manufacturing supplies to India, which will enable the country to make over 20 million doses of the COVID-19 vaccine, according to the statement.
India is a major defense partner to the United States and providing assistance is just something partners do, said Pentagon Press Secretary John F. Kirby during a press briefing earlier this week.
"The United States deeply values our partnership with India," Kirby said. "We are determined to help the people in India as they bravely combat this outbreak."
During a visit to India last month, Secretary of Defense Lloyd J. Austin III said India is a major partner in the effort to keep a free and open Indo-Pacific region.
"As the world faces a global pandemic and growing challenges to an open and stable international system, the US-India relationship is a stronghold of a free and open Indo-Pacific region," he said. "And it's clear that the importance of this partnership, and its impact (on) the international, rules-based order will only grow in the years ahead."
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