US Congress ‘tremendous pillar of support’ as India meets Covid challenge, Jaishankar says

External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar (file photo) | Twitter/@DrSJaishankar

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Washington: External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar met influential American lawmakers from both the Democratic and Republican parties on Thursday and discussed developments pertaining to Quad and the cooperation on vaccines with them.

“Discussed developments pertaining to Quad and our cooperation on vaccines. Recognise their leadership in building stronger ties,” Jaishankar said after his meeting with Congressman Gregory Meeks, who is the chairman of the powerful House Foreign Affairs Committee, along with its ranking member, Congressman Michael McCaul.

The minister also had a “good conversation” with the co-chairs of the House India Caucus, Congressman Brad Sherman from the Democratic Party and Congressman Steve Chabot from the Republican Party.

“The US Congress has been a tremendous pillar of support as India meets the Covid challenge,” Jaishankar tweeted.

All four US lawmakers have been strong advocates of the India-US relationship.

In a tweet, Sherman said he learned how India is fighting COVID-19 and working to disentangle its economy from China.

A day earlier, after introducing the Ensuring American Global Leadership and Engagement (EAGLE) Act, Congressman Meeks appreciated the Biden administration’s initiative towards India.

“Secretaries Blinken and Austin’s trips to Japan and Korea, and Secretary Austin’s separate trip to India, so early in the new administration, reinforced America’s role as a Pacific power, and signalled to China and the world that the United States is back in the arena with our allies and partners alongside us,” he said.

Also read: Global supply of COVAX has suffered big blow due to Covid crisis in India: Top US official

‘Stronger India-US health partnership can be powerful force’

Asserting that a stronger India-US health partnership can be a powerful force to fight COVID-19 globally, External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar, at his meetings with top leaders of the American corporate sector on Thursday, appreciated their swift response to India’s fight against the pandemic.

Jaishankar, the first Indian cabinet minister to visit the United States under the Biden administration, at his lunch-on meeting with CEOs organised by the US India Strategic and Partnership Forum (USISPF), emphasised India’s focus on healthcare partnerships and the importance of India-US collaborations, which would strengthen the supply chains for the production of vaccines and essential medicines in India.

In a series of tweets, the Indian Embassy here said the meeting was a productive engagement on pandemic support and economic recovery.

“He appreciated the US private sector’s swift response in India’s fight against the pandemic,” the embassy said in a tweet.

“Appreciate the participation of CEOs of US companies from diverse business sectors, their support for India’s efforts to fight the pandemic, and US industry’s firm commitment to advance India-US trade, investment and technology partnership,” it said.

Jaishankar discussed India’s priorities, the importance of strengthening critical supply chains and a collaboration for the production of vaccines and therapeutics. During the meeting, he emphasised that a stronger India-US health partnership can be a powerful force to fight the global pandemic.

“Wide-ranging discussion on India’s fight against #COVID19, #USIndia commercial & strategic ties, economic recovery & the broader geopolitics of the region with Minister Jaishankar and (India’s) Ambassador (to the US) Taranjit Singh Sandhu,” the USISPF tweeted.

Earlier in the day, Jaishankar held another wide-ranging conversation with the members of the US India Business Council (USIBC) and the US Global Task Force on Pandemic Relief.

His meeting with the USIBC reinforced both countries’ commitment to fight the pandemic together, build resilient supply chains and advance vaccine access, the council said after the meeting.

Joined by the members of the USIBC board and select executives from the “Global Task Force for Pandemic Response”, companies shared their ongoing initiatives to support India’s health infrastructure and further ways to continue with the relief efforts.

So far, the Global Task Force, a consortium of over 40 American companies, has supported India with 1,000 ventilators. The first set of ventilators have been installed in Uttarakhand’s Haldwani and the training of physicians is underway. The next set of 300 ventilators is on its way to hospitals in tier-2 and tier-3 cities with installation and training planned for the upcoming days. The remaining ones are scheduled for arrival in Chennai.

As many as 4,850 oxygen concentrators have reached 31 states, Union territories and government agencies in India, with an additional 1,190 concentrators en route. A total of 35,000 concentrators are scheduled for delivery by the end of June, the USIBC said.

Further, the chief human resources officer (CHRO) of the India Action Group has convened the CHROs and human resources officers of nearly 200 companies. The group has launched a secure, private collaboration site with resources and materials that the CHROs are using to help employees in India. The current content channels include telehealth, behavioural and mental health, home health kits, financial wellbeing, practical information for employees and HR policy best practices, the USIBC said. – PTI

Also readVaccine alliance Gavi expects India to resume supplies soon, even if ‘in reduced quantities’


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