File image of US President Donald Trump and PM Narendra Modi | Photo: ANI
Representational image | US President Donald Trump and PM Narendra Modi at Hyderabad House, New Delhi | Photo: ANI
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New Delhi: US President Donald Trump Saturday said America will donate ventilators to India and that both sides are also jointly collaborating on developing a vaccine for Covid-19. 

 “I am proud to announce that the United States will donate ventilators to our friends in India. We stand with India and @narendramodi during this pandemic. We’re also cooperating on vaccine development…,” tweeted Trump.

“Together we will beat the invisible enemy!” he added.

During a press conference at the White House Friday, Trump said: “Prime Minister Modi has been a good friend of mine” and “we are working closely with India”.

“I just got back a short while ago from India recently … We have a tremendous Indian population in the US,” the President said, adding that many of them are working on developing a vaccine for Covid-19 and called them “great scientists and researchers”.

President Trump had visited India in February for a two-day trip along with wife Melania, daughter Ivanka and son-in-law Jared Kushner.

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Also read: India’s bargaining power with China and US will grow in post-Covid world


Operation Warp Speed

During the press conference at the White House Friday, Trump announced the launch of ‘Operation Warp Speed’ for the development and production of a Covid-19 vaccine by the end of the year.

He said the operation is a “massive, scientific, industrial and logistical endeavour”, and announced the appointment of Moncef Slaoui, former head of GSK Vaccines, and Gustave Perna, a four-star Army general, to lead the endeavour.

Trump also said the US is not looking to make profits through the development of the vaccine.

US-India engagement over Covid 

The announcement to donate the ventilators to India comes over a month after New Delhi had exported two key drugs, hydroxychloroquine and paracetamol, to the US. 

ThePrint had reported earlier that the US is planning to send ventilators to India, which is facing a shortage of the crucial medical device, as part of its humanitarian aid to fight the pandemic.

In an interview to ThePrint last month, India’s ambassador to the US Taranjit Singh Sandhu had said India is engaged with the US to procure RT-PCR (Reverse Transcription–Polymerase Chain Reaction) and rapid antibody test kits, RNA (ribonucleic acid) extraction kits and other medical supplies.

Sandhu had said companies in the US have expressed interest in supplying these products to New Delhi, and in some cases, orders have already been placed. 

In the last three months since India announced the lockdown, New Delhi has intensified its engagement with countries such as the US, Australia, Japan, South Korea, New Zealand and Vietnam under the framework of Indo-Pacific, according to the Ministry of External Affairs.

Foreign Secretary Harsh Vardhan Shringla has been part of weekly telephonic conversations, led by US Deputy Secretary of State Steven Biegun, since 20 March.

These weekly conversations have brought out the need for real-time communication among partner countries to fight the unprecedented crisis.


Also read: Why India won’t take sides on US-China spat over Covid, despite skirmishes in Sikkim-Ladakh


 

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