Outpouring of US support for India in tackling COVID-19 crisis
Not only dozens of top US lawmakers from both Democratic and Republican parties, but progressives as well; moderates and liberals, along with those in the Congressional Black Caucus and Hispanics, have played a key role in pushing the entire administration and business community to form one of the largest public assistance partnerships- private Americans to a foreign country.
President Joe Biden himself is personally interested in this assistance effort, while the corporate sector led by the American Chambers of Commerce as well as the US India Business Council and the US India Strategic and Partnership Forum have brought together 40 major CEOs to create a global task force to help India in particular and other countries in general help them fight COVID-19.
For several weeks, India has been grappling with a second wave of the pandemic. Hospitals across the country are suffering from a shortage of medical oxygen and beds.
India recorded a record 4,529 coronavirus deaths in a single day, bringing the death toll from COVID-19 to 2.83,248, while 2.67,334 new infections were recorded, bringing the total of cases to 2 , 54,96,330, according to Union Health Ministry data was updated on Wednesday.
The government has benefited since April 27 from international cooperation through COVID-19 relief medical supplies and equipment from different countries and organizations.
Collective U.S. aid could easily reach $ 1 billion by the end of the month, those who track the aid said, given the huge amount of money Indian-Americans have also raised for it.
This outpouring of support from the United States, rarely seen in America except that reserved for Israel, is accompanied by an unprecedented outreach from India’s principal envoy to the United States, Taranjit Singh Sandhu, who at in recent weeks held a few hundred meetings. , dozens of which have also appeared on social media.
“It is only collectively that we can tackle this unprecedented global challenge,” Sandhu said reflecting on the meetings he has had in recent weeks with business leaders, officials in the Biden administration. , members of Congress and Senators, and Indian Americans.
Meeting more than 100 members of Congress and senators, although virtually due to COVID-19 restrictions, could be a record in itself for an ambassador to the United States. He has had virtual meetings with more than two dozen American CEOs, as well as several governors, business groups and the diaspora.
“India and the United States have demonstrated the strength and depth of the bilateral partnership, supporting each other, when it matters most – last year and this year – in our fight against the pandemic. India appreciates the support given by the US The US government, Congress, private sector and public in this regard, ”Sandhu said.
Lawmakers wrote more than half a dozen letters to President Biden asking for more help from India. All of them, regardless of their partisan and ideological affiliations, including many who have criticized the Indian government in the past on various issues, have called for increased assistance to India.
“I think we have seen incredible recognition of the need for the United States to provide assistance to India through the White House, Congress, the private sector and the Indian Diaspora. efforts that we have already seen, and I will soon introduce legislation to do just that, ”said Indian-US Congressman Raja Krishnamoorthi.
Addressing the crisis in India is about saving lives there today, but also about beating the coronavirus now before it mutates into even more dangerous variants in the future, he said.
“If we don’t work with India and other countries to bring this new round of epidemics under control, the new mutant variants of the disease could put millions of additional lives on the line in India, the United States and the United States. world. truly a global crisis that will require an end to global efforts on the part of government, private and non-profit sectors, ”Krishnamoorthi said.
“The United States must urgently respond to the terrible outbreak of COVID-19 in India. Failure to do so will prove that we did not learn a vital lesson from last year: We are only as safe as the sickest and most vulnerable among us. Tech entrepreneurs & innovators have escalated in the absence of sufficient government intervention, ”said Indian US Congressman Ro Khanna.
But nothing can match the might of the US government, he said.
“We need to dramatically increase USAID shipments of oxygen, ventilators, therapeutics, personal protective equipment and other medical supplies to India, and expedite the transfer of AstraZeneca vaccines. But above all to avoid the next wave predicted for India, we must push the private sector to share with India and other developing countries the technology and know-how to beat the pandemic, ”said Khanna.
Some of the top US Senators who have spoken in favor of India include Dick Durbin, John Cornyn, Mark Warner, Bob Menendez, Elizabeth Warren, Bernie Sanders, Jeff Merkley, Ed Markey, Jim Risch, Dianne Feinstein, Chris Van Hollen, Cory Booker, Amy Klobuchar, Gary Peters.
“We are very encouraged to see the urgent and meaningful collaboration of government and the private sector to help resolve pandemic issues,” said Vivek Lall, Managing Director of General Atomics Global Corporation.
“The US-India bilateral relationship enjoys strong, long-standing, bipartisan support,” said Lall, a board member of the US India Business Council, reflecting on the outpouring of support from the United States to the ‘India.
According to USISPF’s US India Friendship Alliance, industry partners have so far hired 38,000 oxygen concentrators.
On Tuesday, 1.50 oxygen concentrators donated by IBM and Accenture arrived in India. And on Monday, more than 780 oxygen concentrators, more than 1.8 million KN95 masks and drugs and pharmaceutical supplies were unloaded from a FedEx Boeing 777F charter flight in New Delhi.
According to Punit Renjen, CEO of Deloittee, the global task force is on track to ship 20,000 more oxygen concentrators to India this month and another 20,000 to 40,000 in June.
“We all need to recognize the immensity of what is happening in India right now and it is our responsibility as members of the community to help as much as we can,” IBM’s Arvind Krishna said at the meeting. ‘a global forum organized by American chambers of commerce. .
“Over 90 countries today depend on India for #vaccine, which highlights the power of working together,” Julei Sweet, CEO of Accenture, said at the same forum. “There is not really a part of our individual American life that is not affected in one way or another by the deep partnership that we have had with India for decades,” she said. added.