JEDDAH (RAHNUMA) Saudi Arabia has shipped 80 tons of liquid oxygen to India as the country faces a medical crisis amid a recent surge in coronavirus cases.
“Our relationship with Saudi Arabia is very strong. We are strategic partners and we do care for each other’s concerns,” said Indian Ambassador to Saudi Arabia Dr. Ausaf Sayeed.
India registered a new global record for daily coronavirus infections for the fourth day in a row after cases surged by 349,691 over the past 24 hours.
“As India is going through a very tough time and there is an oxygen shortage, we reached out to friendly countries like Saudi Arabia to see the possibility of importing oxygen,” Sayeed told Arab News.
He expressed gratitude to the Saudi ministers of health and commerce, as well as other officials who facilitated urgent custom procedures to allow the shipment to quickly reach the subcontinent.
The supply shipment is being transported in coordination with Adani Group and Linde India.
Through the Saudi-Indian Strategic Partnership Council, Sayeed said that he will approach the Kingdom to propose the regular export of oxygen on a bilateral basis between the two countries.
Highlighting the India-Saudi partnership in fighting the pandemic, he said that India had supplied about 5 million doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine to the Kingdom. Moreover, the movement of medical staff to the Kingdom was uninterrupted even during the peak of the pandemic, he added.
“Indian doctors and paramedical staff form a strong backbone for health systems in the GCC, and in particular in the Kingdom,” said the envoy. “They are all playing critical roles, because they are all spread in different parts of the Kingdom and in very remote areas.”
He added: “We really appreciate them, and we appreciate the Saudi Health Ministry and agencies for taking care of them in this difficult time.”
Sayeed also thanked Saudi Arabia for offering free vaccinations to its citizens.
According to Reuters, hospitals in Delhi and across the country are turning away patients after running out of medical oxygen and beds.
Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi urged all citizens in India to receive a vaccination and exercise caution, saying the “storm” of infections had shaken the country.
The European Commission also activated its EU Civil Protection Mechanism and is seeking to send oxygen and medicine to India after receiving a request from the Indian government.
“Alarmed by the epidemiological situation in India, we are ready to support,” President Ursula von der Leyen said on Twitter on Sunday.
India also began airlifting tanks containing oxygen from Singapore to meet the growing demand for the life-saving gas.
Authorities have also diverted oxygen supplies from industrial centers to hospitals, but this still has not met the massive surge in demand, Asharq Al-Awsat reported on Sunday.