Jaishankar arrives in New York: Focus to be around vaccination production
New Delhi, May 21: External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar has arrived in the United States for a five day visit.
He will meet UN Secretary Antonio Guterres apart from holding a bi-lateral with US Secretary of State Antony Blinken.
The focus of the meeting will be around the vaccination production and supply chains. Jaishankar will meet with Guterres in the backdrop of India joining the United Nations Security Council as a non-permanent member this year.
Meanwhile a US Congressman has urged President Joe Biden to assist the Indian Government in its effort to distribute anti-COVID vaccine at the earliest to tackle the grim situation it is witnessing due to the contagious coronavirus spread.
In a letter to Biden dated May 17, Democratic Congressman Thomas R Suozzi has also praised the Biden administration for extending support to India recently by providing anti-COVID-19 materials.
"Thank you for your leadership and for the Administration's work to restore America's place in the global community. In the spirit of that effort, I urge the federal government to assist the Indian Government in its COVID-19 vaccine distribution effort as soon as it has the capacity to do so," he said in the letter, a copy of which is with the PTI.
He said in the recent weeks, India has become a global epicenter of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The past week was one of the deadliest phase of the pandemic in India, which recorded 4,205 deaths on Wednesday, carrying the total number of confirmed deaths due to COVID19 to more than 250,000.
India's healthcare system is under tremendous pressure and doctors and patients alike are in urgent need of assistance, he said.
"We know that increasing vaccination rates is one of the most important tools available to combat the pandemic. Unfortunately, less than 10 per cent of Indians have received at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine at this time, As COVID-19 continues to spread through the unvaccinated Indian population, the risk of new variants greatly increases and thousands more will lose their lives," Suozzi said.
Welcoming the efforts of the Biden administration to provide USD 100 million worth of relief to India, Suozzi wrote that given the scope of the ongoing health crisis, the United States must continue to coordinate with the Indian Government to bolster and support vaccine distribution programme.
"The United States has long played a crucial role in supporting other nations through health initiatives, and it is imperative that we do so again in the global COVID-19 vaccination effort," Suozzi wrote in his letter to Biden.