Fight against COVID-19: IAF, Navy deploy assets to carry critical equipment; US promises more aid

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Updated: May 04, 2021 2:43 PM

Indian Air Force and the Indian Navy continue criss- crossing across the globe and the country in an effort to bring in Oxygen tankers as well as critical life support equipment

Indian Air Force , Indian Navy, global aid, liquid oxygen tankers, INS Kolkata, INS Kochi, INS Talwar, INS Tabar, INS Trikand, , Orerration samudra SetuSeven ships including INS Kolkata, INS Kochi, INS Talwar, INS Tabar, INS Trikand, INS Jalashwa and INS Airavat_ have been deployed for shipment of liquid medical `oxygen-filled cryogenic containers’ . (Images: IAF/MEA)

Indian Air Force and the Indian Navy continue criss- crossing across the globe and the country in an effort to bring in Oxygen tankers as well as critical life support equipment.

Sharing updates on the sorties undertaken by the transport aircraft, according to IAF, “Two C-17 Globemaster got airborne from Jamnagar air base on May 4, for Brize Norton in the UK to airlift critical life support equipment.”

Adding, “The aircraft has flown nonstop clocking almost 11h 30min to reach the UK. The first aircraft landed at 0200 Local Time and with a quick turnaround, the aircraft flew back to Chennai with a load of 35 tonnes of equipment which included 450 empty oxygen cylinders. The aircraft landed in Chennai in the early hours on Tuesday, May 4, 2021.”

Indian Navy deploys seven ships for Operation Samudra Setu II

Seven ships including INS Kolkata, INS Kochi, INS Talwar, INS Tabar, INS Trikand, INS Jalashwa and INS Airavat_ have been deployed for shipment of liquid medical `oxygen-filled cryogenic containers’ and associated medical equipment from various countries.

According to the Indian Navy, “Both INS Kolkata and INS Talwar, missions deployed in Persian Gulf, were the first batch of ships that were diverted immediately for the task. And they entered the port of Manama, Bahrain on April 30, 2021.”

As an update: INS Talwar, is heading back home with 40 MT Liquid Medical Oxygen (LMO) embarked.

INS Kolkata has been directed to Doha, Qatar for embarking medical supplies and from there will head to Kuwait for embarking Liquid Oxygen tanks.

Similarly, on the Eastern seaboard: INS Airavat too has been diverted for the task, while INS Jalashwa, the LPD has been pulled out of maintenance, has sailed out to augment the effort.

INS Airavat will be entering Singapore for embarking Liquid oxygen tanks and INS Jalashwa is standing by in the region to embark medical stores at short notice.

A second batch of Indian Naval Ships

INS Kochi, INS Trikand and Tabar which were mission deployed in Arabian Sea have also been diverted to join the national effort.

Meanwhile …

From the Southern Naval Command, the Landing Ship Tank INS Shardul is getting ready to join the operations soon.

“If and when the need arises, the Indian Navy has the capability to deploy more ships to help in fighting the COVID-19,” added Indian Navy spokesperson.

More aid from the US

On Monday, May 3, 2021, the external affairs minister S Jaishankar had the first in person meeting with US Secretary of State Tony Blinken in the UK and the focus of talks was fighting the COVID pandemic.

Sources confirmed to Financial Express Online, “The two had in depth discussions on the immediate requirements of India. The US Secretary of State has assured a positive response to India’s requirements.”

The next shipment from the US is going to land soon.

What is India expected to get from the US?

While Oxygen and related equipment is a priority, the US has acted on India’s request for more Remdesvir.

Both countries also discussed enhancing India’s vaccine production which will help not only India but the global requirement too. The two countries will work under the QUAD format, at bilateral level and through multilateral initiatives.

UAE sends Oxygen Tankers

Official spokesperson of the Ministry of External Affairs, Arindam Bagchi tweeted that 7 ISO tankers with 20 MT Liquid Medical Oxygen (LMO) each have arrived at the Mundra Port (India).

This according to his tweet is the first such shipment of LMO to India and this will help augment oxygen availability.

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