WASHINGTON: In an address to the Indian diaspora in the US, Vice President Kamala Harris lamented over the deteriorating Covidd-19 situation India, saying it was “nothing short of heartbreaking”.
“Generations of my family come from India. My mother (Shyamala Gopalan) was born and raised in India. And I have family members who live in India today. The welfare of India is critically important to the US,” Harris said in her pre-recorded message played at a diaspora event hosted by the State Department’s Bureau of South and Central Asian Affairs (SCA) on Friday.
“The surge of Covid-19 infections and deaths in India is nothing short of heartbreaking. To those of you who have lost loved ones, I send my deepest condolences. As soon as the dire nature of the situation became apparent, our administration took action.
“On Monday, April 26, President Joe Biden spoke with the Prime Minister (Narendra Modi) to offer our support. By Friday, April 30, US military members and civilians were delivering relief on the ground.
“Already, we have delivered refillable oxygen cylinders, with more to come. We have delivered oxygen concentrators, with more to come. We have delivered N95 masks, and have more ready to send. We have delivered doses of Remdesivir to treat Covid patients. “At the beginning of the pandemic, when our hospital beds were stretched, India sent assistance. And today, we are determined to help India in its hour of need.
“We do this as friends of India, as members of the Asian Quad, and as part of the global community. I believe that if we continue to work together, across nations and sectors, we will all get through this,” the Vice President added.
In her address, she also acknowledged diaspora groups like Indiaspora and the American India Foundation that “have built bridges between the US and India”.
“And this past year, you have provided vital contributions to Covid-19 relief efforts.”
Harris’ remarks come as India is battling the devastating second wave of the pandemic that have triggered record number of new Covid-19 cases and deaths, leading to a shortage in oxygen supplies across the country, including in the national capital of New Delhi. On Sunday, India reported 4,03,738 new cases, which took the overall tally to 2,22,96,414, the second highest in the world after the US.
Meanwhile, the country’s death toll, currently the third largest after the us and Brazil, increased to 2,42,362. Sunday’s figure is the fifth highest since India crossed the four-lakh-mark of new Covid cases, while over 3,000 casualties have been reported for the last 11 days.