India’s Foreign Secretary, Harsh Vardhan Shringla, has said that in fighting a surge in COVID-19 infections, "we have got a lot of assistance and also commitments of assistance from the Gulf region.", highlighting the UAE in particular.
Giving an account of India’s international cooperation on containing the pandemic at a special media briefing, Shringla mentioned help from the UAE, Bahrain, Qatar and Saudi Arabia from the Gulf.
He specifically acknowledged "a special cargo flight from the UAE with ventilators and Favipiravir medicines,".
Favipiravir is an anti-viral option for treating COVID-19.
Shringla said India is also in negotiations with the UAE to procure supplies of another anti-viral medicine, Remdesivir. "Wherever stocks are available, we are trying to contact them and trying to get it into our country at the earliest so that we can cover the short term gap."
He assured that all the equipment that is consigned to India for COVID-19 treatment will be expeditiously cleared, that there are blanket exemptions from the different taxes, customs duties and other dues that would normally have to be paid. "We want to make sure that this process is smooth right from the point that we identify sources of supply to the point that it actually reaches those of our citizens that need these items," Shringla said.
The UAE has already sent a special cargo containing medical supplies to help India battle a devastating second wave of coronavirus.
It comprised 157 ventilators, 480 Bilevel Positive Airway Pressure (BiPAP) machines (used to ease breathing difficulties) and other equipment used to treat COVID-19.