New Delhi, April 28
Russia has joined the US in sending massive amount of aid and fast-forwarding the dispatch of Sputnik vaccines even as a telephonic conversation between Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Russian President Vladimir Putin on Wednesday resolved to add more ballast to bilateral ties by agreeing to establish a ‘two plus two’ dialogue between their foreign and defence ministers.
In fact, vaccines and other medical assistance from Moscow could start arriving from tonight, said sources. “Our cooperation on Sputnik-V vaccine will assist humanity in battling the pandemic,” noted PM Modi after the telephonic conversation.
New Delhi is still mulling its response to two proposals from Pakistan – for opening an oxygen corridor from Lahore to Punjab and ambulance from the Eidhi Foundation, said sources here.
The Chinese government, however, is taking time to consider the list submitted by the Indian government. But Chinese medical suppliers are working overtime with at least 25,000 orders for oxygen concentrators placed in recent days. Cargo planes are under plan for medical supplies and the Chinese customs will facilitate relevant process, said Chinese ambassador to India Sun Weidong.
Sources said the Centre has loosened the checks on overseas aid. “We are not stopping anybody from directly sending help,” said sources while pointing out that states have been allowed to procure from overseas while foreign aid can be sent to anyone.
Aid being received by the Centre is being routed through the Indian Red Cross Association for distribution to states while some NGOs are receiving help directly, said the sources. Several countries have indicated their preference for the Red Cross option rather that a fund set up by the PMO.
The corporate sector, especially in the US has also swung into action. The USISPF is already in touch with manufacturers in the US, Mexico, Malaysia and China. India will also soon receive a significant shipment of vaccine directly from pharmaceutical companies.