By Irfan Mohammed
Jeddah: Amidst a tsunami of demand for medical oxygen, equipment, and medicines as India battles a deadly second wave of COVID-19, several Arab countries offer the assistance.
The Indian Ambassadors in the region have been playing a key role in scouting and acquiring medical oxygen, equipment, and medicine that hour of need in back home India.
Indian Ambassador to Saudi Arabia, Dr. Ausaf Sayeed, a Hyderabadi and only senior diplomat in the region, was the first among abroad who successfully pursued a leading Saudi medical oxygen manufacturer to supply not only the liquid medical oxygen to India but also crucial cryogenic tankers.
A major reason for the scarcity is the shortage of cryogenic tankers that can carry the life-saving gas. Cryogenic liquid tankers are specially designed for the safe and economic transportation and storage of liquefied gases at cryogenic temperatures, lower than –90°C.
Adani Group successfully procured it with the help of the Indian Embassy in Riyadh. Gautam Adani, chairman of the Adani Group, in his personal Twitter handle Thanked Dr. Ausaf Sayeed’s efforts.
Procuring the oxygen and its containers from Saudi Arabia is not that easy as regional key player Saudi aiding its regional allies that are hit by the virus.
The United Arab Emirates, Qatar and Kuwait also dispatched the aid to India by their own carriers.
Indian Navy has launched ‘Operation Samudra Setu II’ to ferry oxygen and other medical requirements in the country.
According to the official spokesperson of the Indian Navy, “For the shipment of Liquid Medical Oxygen (LMO) and related medical equipment from friendly foreign countries in the Persian Gulf and South East Asia, ships from all the three naval commands have been deployed.” The three naval commands are located in Mumbai, Visakhapatnam and Kochi.
Most of these ships are being sailed in Arabian Sea and transporting medical relief back to home.
India will be commercially importing liquid medical oxygen: Petroleum and Natural Gas Minister
Minister Petroleum and Natural Gas Dharmendra Pradhan has revealed that India will be commercially importing liquid medical oxygen from Qatar, UAE and Saudi Arabia.
“Had close consultations during the last week with my counterparts from Saudi Arabia, UAE & Qatar on ways to increase import of LMO into India. Deeply appreciate the initial gesture of goodwill with complimentary LMO supplies particularly from UAE, Kuwait, Bahrain & Saudi Arabia,” the minister said on Twitter.
Moreover, the Indian ambassadors in these nations are also regularly coordinating to procure commercial supplies of oxygen as public sector corporations such as Indian Oil and GAIL will be rolling out logistical support for the same.
The union minister added, “My deep appreciation to HRH Abdulaziz, HE Dr Sultan Jaber, HE Sherida al-Kaabi for their extended support & special gesture of solidarity with India through the offer of ISO Containers for the next 6 months. Assurance of steady commercial supply of LMO to India is also welcomed.”
Egypt also came in support of India
Apart from Arabian Gulf countries, Arab heavyweight Egypt also came in support of India. Egypt’s EVA Pharma agreed to sell 300,000 vails “Remdesivir” injections is significant.
Indian Embassy in Cairo has signed an agreement to procure 300,000 doses of Remdesivir, used in the treatment of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19), from Egypt’s Eva Pharma.
The signing ceremony was attended by Indian Ambassador Ajit Gupte and Riad Armanious, CEO of Eva Pharma. It was held at the Embassy of India in Cairo, with the embassy acting on behalf of India’s Ministry of Health and Family Welfare.
The procurement of the medication will be crucial in India’s fight against the coronavirus, said Ambassador Gupte. Shipment of the vials is expected to begin quickly in the next few days.
Also, Egypt dispatched a second shipment of medical aid to India in less than two weeks.
Three Egyptian military planes transported medical aid from the Egyptian health ministry to India.
A statement by the military spokesman said “large quantities” of medical aid was sent as per the directives of President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi, according to Egyptian media reports.