As India continues to battle a worsening tide of novel coronavirus infections, more than 40 countries have offered assistance to the country, its Foreign Ministry announced on Thursday.

The ministry said the country hopes to receive 550 oxygen generators, 4,000 oxygen concentrators, and 10,000 oxygen cylinders from abroad in the coming days to deal with the pandemic.

“There has been an outpouring of solidarity with India. Over 40 countries have actually committed to providing us with many of the items we need urgently,” Foreign Secretary Harsh Vardhan Shringla told a press briefing on Thursday.

Shringla said the government is expecting planes to come in from the US, UEA, France, and Ireland in the coming days.

“Over 40 countries, not just developed countries but also our neighbors Mauritius, Bangladesh, Bhutan, have all come forward to offer assistance in whichever capacity possible,” he said.

Indian officials have prioritized the acquisition of certain materials, he said, adding that liquid oxygen was one of these.”

The country also faces the need for “any equipment that produces oxygen,” such as oxygen generators, concentrators, cryogenic tankers, transportation equipment, he added.

“We did call upon our missions, in particular, the ones that were really in countries that had the capacity to meet our property items,” Shringla said.

India marked a new record of coronavirus cases on Thursday, registering a staggering 379,257 new infections in the last 24 hours. After the UK sent its first shipment on Tuesday, two urgent flights from Russia arrived in India on Thursday morning carrying relief materials.

The foreign secretary also said India is looking to procure over 400,000 doses of Remdesivir medicine from Egypt and is in touch with countries like Bangladesh, Uzbekistan, and the UAE, where the drug is manufactured.

Asked about the shift in India’s policy to accept foreign aid, Shringla said the situation the country currently found itself in was “unprecedented and quite exceptional.”

“I don’t think we are looking at it in policy terms. We are looking at it in terms of a situation that is very unusual, very unprecedented, very exceptional. We will do whatever it takes to meet the requirements of our people at this point in time,” he said.

“Many of the countries have put it in a context of the assistance they have received from India in the past, in the first wave of the COVID crisis … If today, countries have come forward so spontaneously, it is also part of international cooperation and global goodwill, that has been generated over several years [by India].”

If required to meet capacities, India will source vaccines from other countries, he said, adding: “From May 1, we will have made vaccination universal for everyone above 18 years and we will have to make sure that we have the necessary capacity to cater to that.”

“In that context, obviously if we can source vaccine; we will do it, whether it is from the US, whether it is from Russia. Whether it is from another country that has and manufactures vaccines, we will do it,” he said.

Shringla further added that when India’s position permitted, it had sent other countries its vaccines. “Today, our needs are far greater. All our partners understand today, what we require is to ramp up our vaccination program,” he said.

“For the time being, our requirement is very significant and pressing and I think whatever we produce and whatever we can get from other manufacturers will be used for our domestic vaccine program.”

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