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29 Apr, 2021 14:13

‘Longstanding and time-tested partner’: India thanks Russia after Moscow sends 22 tons of supplies to country in Covid-19 crisis

With India facing an unprecedented number of Covid-19 cases, Russia has sent its important BRICS partner two planes full of medical supplies, including much-needed ventilators and doses of the antiviral drug Favipiravir.

The shipment, announced by Moscow on Wednesday, arrived in New Delhi on Thursday. The decision to send aid came after a phone call between Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Russian President Vladimir Putin, which the Indian head of state called an “excellent conversation with [his] friend” about “bilateral cooperation.”

According to Johns Hopkins University, India now has the second most Covid-19 infections on the planet, only behind the US.

“In the spirit of friendship and a particularly privileged strategic partnership between Russia and India, the administration has decided to send a large shipment of aid to combat the sharp increase in the incidence of coronavirus,” a Russian Foreign Ministry statement said, announcing that the cargo would include oxygen concentrators, artificial lung ventilation devices, and anticoagulation drugs.

The aid follows an announcement early this week from Modi, who admitted that the country was struggling to deal with the latest increase in infections.

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“We were confident, our spirits were up after successfully tackling the first wave, but this storm has shaken the nation,” he said.

Earlier in the week, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken announced that Washington would also provide additional assistance to India.

In response to Moscow's donation, the spokesman for India's Ministry of External Affairs, Arindam Bagchi, thanked the country’s “longstanding and time-tested partner” Russia.

“Grateful for shipment of oxygen concentrators, ventilators, and other medical supplies that arrived from Russia this morning in two aircrafts,” he wrote on Twitter.

While Russia's Covid-19 figures peaked late last year, India is now experiencing a deadly second wave, with daily infections hitting a new high of 379,459 on Thursday. In 2020, the country never once reported a six-figure number of infections in a 24-hour period. The death toll has also increased dramatically.

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