New Delhi, India: An important step forward, India has dispatched relief assistance from COVID-19 to Bangladesh and Indonesia. The development demonstrates that India has re-established itself as a supplier of medical products as the impact of the second wave of the Covid crisis has subsided.
For the first time, the Indian Railways’ “Oxygen Express” will cross an international border and deliver 200 metric tonnes of liquid oxygen in ten containers to Bangladesh, which is just across the border. With the train departing Tatanagar on Saturday and arriving in Bangladesh on Sunday, the South Eastern Railway is carrying out the operation.
#United in #Bangladesh‘s fight against #Covid19 @RailMinIndia enabling supply of 200 MT of Liquid Medical Oxygen through the 1st cross-border #OxygenExpress from #India. Reaching #Benapole tomorrow.@BDMOFA@albd1971@shah_farhad@meaindia@IndianDiplomacy@AshwiniVaishnaw pic.twitter.com/3zP9JSMGD7
— India in Bangladesh (@ihcdhaka) July 24, 2021
According to an Indian Railways press release, “This is the first time that the Oxygen Express has been put into service to a neighbouring country.”
On the domestic front, Indian Railways launched the Oxygen Express service on April 24 in the wake of the country’s devastating Covid crisis earlier this year. According to the railways, more than 35000 MT of liquid oxygen was transported to 15 different states, and approximately 480 Oxygen Expresses were put into service during that time.
While this is going on, the Indian Navy’s Airavat arrived in Jakarta, Indonesia on Saturday. It is expected that the ship will deliver five cryogenic containers containing 100 million litres of liquid oxygen and 300 concentrators to assist the South East Asian country in its fight against the virus Covid.
Manoj Kumar Bharti, the Indian envoy to Indonesia, handed over essential medicines and relief supplies to Bapak Eka Jusup Singka, the head of the Indonesian Ministry of Health’s Crisis Center.
Ambassador of India H E Shri Manoj Kumar Bharti handed over essential medicines and relief materials to Bapak Eka Jusup Singka, Head, Crisis Centre, Ministry of Health @KemenkesRI in presence of dignitaries from @Kemlu_RI, @_TNIAL_, PT Pertamina. pic.twitter.com/VVfpfPbvDs
— India in Indonesia (@IndianEmbJkt) July 24, 2021
As of right now, the country is suffering from an extremely severe Covid crisis, similar to the one that struck India in April. In fact, the popular tourist destination of Bali is running out of oxygen as the number of cases continues to rise.
According to a Navy press release, “India and Indonesia have developed strong cultural and commercial ties over the years. Both countries have been cooperating in the maritime domain in order to make the Indo-Pacific region a safer place.”
It has also been used for relief operations throughout the Indian Ocean region in the past by the naval ship Airavat, which is primarily designed to carry out amphibious operations on the Indian Ocean. Both the Indian and Indonesian navies have been conducting bilateral exercises and coordinated patrols on a consistent basis.
During the Covid crisis, both Bangladesh and Indonesia reached out to India, and this was a positive development. Bangladesh provided Remdisivir Injection, as well as medicines and protective equipment. Remdisivir was used extensively in the north-eastern states of India that border Bangladesh, where it was available in large quantities.
Indonesia had sent India oxygen concentrators and oxygen cylinders as a gesture of goodwill. Overall, India received assistance from 52 countries, which included a variety of items from foreign governments, private companies, Indian associations abroad, and other organisations. New Delhi distributed HCQ to a number of countries last year, and 95 countries received vaccines manufactured in India this year. In order to devote more resources to its domestic vaccination programme, India has put the Vaccine Maitri initiative, which promotes vaccine export, on hold for the time being.