As COVID-19 Spike Continues, Offers For Help and Solidarity From Governments Abroad

Earlier, the United States had indicated that it was not yet ready to loosen restrictions on the export of vaccine raw materials.

New Delhi: With the graph of COVID-19 cases in India spiking relentlessly, China, France, Australia and Germany have made offers to help, even as the Ministry of External Affairs held meetings with vaccine industry representatives to look at the roadblocks in global supply chains.

France’s ambassador to India, Emannuel Lenain tweeted a “message of solidarity” from the French President Emmanuel Macron, in which he extended an offer of support. 

The German embassy posted on its official Twitter account that it was following the pandemic in India with “deep sympathy and concern”. 

“India is our strategic partner, and we share a strong conviction that the challenges of this global crisis can only be met through international cooperation,” it said.

The embassy tweeted that a private German firm, Linde, along with the Tata group, will airlift 24 oxygen transport tanks to augment the capacity of transportation to COVID-19 hotspots.

It also noted that Germany was “partnering” with UNICEF and India’s ministry of health in increasing capacity for vaccine distribution and laboratory testing.

The embassy’s tweets came a day after Politico Europe published remarks by Chancellor Angela Merkel in a conversation with the head of the largest political group in the European Parliament.

The chancellor first expressed concern that due to the situation in India, there was worry whether there will be enough pharmaceutical products to import from Germany. She then noted that dependence on Indian firms may need a relook.

“Of course, we have only allowed India to become such a large pharmaceutical producer in the first place, also from the European side, in the expectation that this should then also be complied with. If that is not the case now, we will have to rethink,” she stated.

The Australian foreign minister Marisa Payne tweeted that India’s “generosity and leadership in providing vaccines to our region is appreciated”.

“We will continue to work together closely to respond to this global crisis,” she added.

Meanwhile, China stated that it was in talks with the Indian government on providing support as per “India’s needs”.

“China expresses sincere sympathies to India over the deteriorating situation in the country recently. The Chinese government and people firmly support the Indian government and people in fighting the coronavirus. China is ready to provide support and help according to India’s need, and is in communication with the Indian side on this. We believe that the Indian people will defeat the virus at an early date,” said Chinese spokesperson Zhao Lijian at the weekly briefing.

In Delhi, external affairs minister S. Jaishankar announced that he held a meeting with Indian vaccine manufacturers along with Indian envoys to the US, the UK and the European Union.

He asserted that the ministry is striving to ensure supply chains are “as smooth as possible in a difficult global situation”. “The world must support India, as India helps the world,” he wrote.

Earlier, the United States had indicated that it was not yet ready to loosen restrictions on the export of raw materials required to ramp up manufacture of COVID-19 vaccines.

At the daily briefing on Thursday, US state department spokesperson Ned Price had stated that the “United States first and foremost is engaged in an ambitious and effective and, so far, successful effort to vaccinate the American people. “

“That campaign is well underway, and we’re doing that for a couple of reasons. Number one, we have a special responsibility to the American people. Number two, the American people, this country has been hit harder than any other country around the world – more than 550,000 deaths, tens of millions of infections in this country alone,” he said.