COVID-19: US lawmakers rally behind India in its hour of crisis
Washington, Apr 26: Top US lawmakers rallied behind India in its hour of crisis urging the Biden administration to provide material and healthcare assistance to India to help save lives from the deadly coronavirus.
In a rare move, at a time when the Congress is bitterly divided on political lines, Senators Mark Warner from the ruling Democratic party and John Cornyn from the opposition Republican party jointly called on the White House to accelerate its assistance to India.
"As co-chairs of the Senate India Caucus, we urged them to do everything possible to help our friends in India in the midst of this COVID-19 crisis," Warner said.
"Glad to also be joined in this effort by Senator Susan Collins too. Support for our ally India is bipartisan. We should do everything we can to help them fight back against COVID-19."
Warner and Cornyn, the two powerful Senators in their respective parties, are co-chairs of the Senate India Caucus, the only country-specific caucus in the United States' Senate.
Congresswoman Val Demings said under President Joe Biden's leadership the US has done 200 million vaccine doses in 100 days. A shot must be available for every American, she said.
"We must also be a global leader. We cannot stand back and allow mass deaths. I commend the administration''s announcement today and strongly support more, ASAP," Demings said.
Congresswoman Sara Jacobs said providing support to India, including boosting their vaccine programme, is absolutely the right thing to do. "Moving forward, supporting vaccine programmes around the world will be essential. If the last year has shown us anything, it's that global health impacts all of us."
This is India's moment of need and America must answer the call to help, said Congressman Andy Kim.
"Biden administration announced strong initial steps. I urge Biden to now authorise release of AstraZeneca vaccine to India and other allies. Alliances are tested in the darkest of days, and we must step up," he said.
"India accounts for nearly half of all new cases globally if you only count the numbers reported (millions in last week) mass cremations across India tell story of vast underreporting as numbers are undoubtedly higher. It's a true crisis," Jacobs said.
"Today, the Biden admin announced the US is going to send resources and supplies to India to help with vaccine production, and to deliver oxygen and therapeutics for those suffering. This is the right move. But we can do better and more. We can help India and not miss a beat in our domestic response. America has secured enough vaccine for every single American. Pfizer/Moderna have signed up to deliver 600 million doses in total through July. Add 100 million J&J doses," Kim said.
He said it is one of first major tests of American global leadership in "this new era". "Every national security expert across political spectrum says that America's strategic strengths (especially in relation to China) are our allies and partners. Then we need to make that a reality. When the US needed help early in this pandemic, India came to our aid. It's time that we show them, and the rest of the world, that America's word is America's deed. We can show the power of America as an ally," Kim said.
"Let's be clear, China and Russia have been using their vaccines to gather favor globally. The US is the strongest country in the world when we lead with our values, but our values mean nothing without action. We cannot lead a post-COVID world if we sit out the fight that our allies face to put this pandemic to an end. Let's show the world what we can do. It's time to release these vaccines and save lives. That is American leadership," he said.