Countries vow to assist Covid-hit India at first Indo-Pacific group meet since Biden’s win | India News

Countries vow to assist Covid-hit India at first Indo-Pacific group meet since Biden's win | India News
NEW DELHI: The Indo-Pacific group, also known informally as the ‘Quad Plus’ resumed their engagement in 2021, the first time in the Biden administration.
On Friday evening, foreign secretary Harsh Shringla met with US’ Wendy Sherman, the new deputy secretary, Frances Adamson of Australia and senior officials from Japan, South Korea, New Zealand and Vietnam.
The group, set up during the height of the pandemic in 2020, has been working together on Covid-19 issues including keeping supply chains open and functioning, directing Covid assistance etc.
The meeting, held virtually, comes in the midst of the worst Covid surge in India, which has seen over 400000 new cases and over 4000 deaths a day for the past few weeks. These meetings are a weekly affair, allowing senior officials to flag emerging issues and resolve problems at their level.
Sherman and others pledged Covid assistance to India — almost 50 countries have rushed in massive amounts of aid in terms of oxygen and medicines, medical equipment and vaccine components, to India to tackle the crisis.
The general consensus, sources said, was that India had assisted others during their covid crises, now it was the turn of other countries to come to India’s aid.
India is now virtually quarantined from the world as countries have stopped flights from India. India has asked all countries to “review” the decision once India can tame the current surge. But a more earnest request went out from India to keep cargo flights going.
Resilient supply chains is uppermost in the minds of countries like India — in 2020, India, Japan and Australia signed a pact to foster supply chains that should be trusted and diversified away from China. In recent weeks, New Zealand has expressed interest in being part of building supply chains.
India’s requests on supply chains is rooted in the fact that Indian vaccine manufacturers are running into supply problems for components like high tech materials, non-chemical components and active pharmaceutical ingredients (APIs).

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