Will ‘rapidly’ deploy additional support to India: US

Washington, Apr 25 (FN Bureau) Secretary of State Antony Blinken on Sunday said that US is closely working with the Indian officials and will rapidly deploy additional support to the COVID-hit country. “Our hearts go out to the Indian people in the midst of the horrific COVID-19 outbreak. We are working closely with our partners in the Indian government, and we will rapidly deploy additional support to the people of India and India’s health care heroes,” Mr Blinken tweeted.

Mr Blinken’s remarks come just a day after United States defended its restrictions on the export of raw materials essential to produce Covid-19 vaccines, saying that there first obligation is to take care of the requirements of the American people. On Friday, the US Chamber of Commerce asked the country’s administration to release millions of AstraZeneca vaccine doses “in storage” to India, Brazil and other such countries hard-hit by the pandemic. “These vaccine doses will not be needed in the United States, where it’s estimated that vaccine manufacturers will be able produce enough doses by early June to vaccinate every American. This move would affirm U.S. leadership, including in initiatives such as COVAX, and as we work with partners around the globe because no one is safe from the pandemic until we are all safe from it,” Myron Brilliant, Executive Vice President and Head of International Affairs at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce said in a statement.

On April 16, Serum Institute India’s CEO Adar Poonawalla had requested US President Joe Biden to lift embargo on export of raw materials that are used to manufacture the COVID vaccine. India is currently undergoing a second deadly wave of coronavirus, prompting a greater need to vaccinate the populace. According to India’s Health Ministry, cumulatively, 14,09,16,417 vaccine doses have been administered till now.