After the initial indifference towards India’s current Covid-19 surge, the United States is now trying hard to make a difference. President Joe Biden is sending top American diplomat Daniel Smith as interim envoy to New Delhi for better coordination (the post of U.S. Ambassador to India has been vacant since January when Biden took charge as President). Amidst the inflow of Covid-related assistance to India, Secretary of State Antony Blinken called up his Indian counterpart S. Jaishankar to ‘share condolences and reiterate continued U.S. support for COVID-19 relief efforts’. This is the third high-level call from the U.S. in less than a week—after U.S. NSA spoke to his Indian counterpart and President Biden dialled PM Modi.
The discussions focused on Indian requirements to address the Covid challenge more effectively. Jaishankar said the flow of equipment and material from the U.S. was reviewed. He highlighted the importance of strengthening oxygen supply, expanding vaccine production and increasing Remdesivir supply. Jaishankar appreciated the ‘forthcoming’ U.S. response and both sides agreed to be in touch.