New Delhi: In a significant move, India has sent COVID-19 relief assistance to Bangladesh and Indonesia. The development shows India is back as a supplier of medical products as impact of second wave of Covid crisis subsides.
For the first time Indian Railways’ “Oxygen Express” will cross international border and supply 200 MT of Liquid oxygen in 10 containers to neighbouring Bangladesh. The operation is being undertaken by South Eastern Railway with the train leaving Tatanagar and will reach Benapole in Bangladesh on Sunday.
A release by Indian Railways said,” This is the first time ever that the Oxygen Express is put into operation to neighbouring country.”
Domestically, Indian Railways started Oxygen Express on April 24 as the country was struck by devastating Covid crisis earlier this year. According to railways more than 35000 MT of Liquid Oxygen was transported to 15 states and around 480 Oxygen Expresses were operationalised.
Meanwhile, Indian Naval Ship Airavat reached Jakarta, Indonesia on Saturday. The ship has brought five Cryogenic containers containing 100 MT of Liquid Oxygen and 300 Concentraters to support the South East Asian country’s fight against Covid.
Indian envoy Manoj Kumar Bharti handed over essential medicines and relief materials to Bapak Eka Jusup Singka, Head, Crisis Centre, Indonesian Ministry of Health.
Currently, the country has been struck by a devastating Covid crisis, similar to what India saw in April. In fact, the famous tourist destination of Bali is running out of oxygen as cases surge.
A Navy Release said, “India and Indonesia enjoy close cultural and commercial ties. Both countries have been working together in the maritime domain towards a safer Indo-Pacific.”
The naval ship Airavat whose primary role is to carry out amphibious operations has been deployed for relief operations across the Indian Ocean Region in the past as well. Both Indian, Indonesian Navy have been carrying out bilateral exercises and coordinated patrols regularly.
Remember both Bangladesh and Indonesia had reached out to India when it was stuck by Covid crisis. Bangladesh sent Remdisivir Injection, medicines and protective equipment. A large quantity of Remdisivir was used in north eastern states of India bordering Bangladesh.
Indonesia had sent India oxygen concentrators, oxygen cylinders. All in all, India got relief from 52 countries which include various items from foreign governments, private companies, Indian associations abroad etc. Last year New Delhi had sent HCQ to many countries and this year 95 countries got India-made vaccines. The vaccine export initative, called Vaccine Maitri initiative, is currently on pause as India focuses on its domestic vaccination programme.