Partnerships of hope: Russia stands with India in its fight against Covid-19
The Indo-Russian connection is old yet strong- our ties date back centuries but it was during the 20th century that India’s cooperation with the erstwhile Soviet Union (USSR) grew extensively soon after India gained independence in 1947. Since then, the relationship has grown from strength to strength and enjoys wide support among their peoples. As has been highlighted many times by our leaders, this bilateral partnership stands on the bedrock of mutual trust, deep rooted historical and cultural ties and mutually beneficial economic prospects.
While our bilateral cooperation has grown significantly over the past few years, it is the events since last year that have again put the spotlight on the importance of a strong Indo-Russian relationship. The onset and the consequent rapid spread of the Covid-19 crisis has disrupted everyday life and led to widespread damage to both lives and livelihoods. In this context, the second wave of the coronavirus pandemic in India continues to overwhelm our health system while we cope with the shock and severity of this immense challenge.
To aid India in its efforts against this pandemic, numerous countries across the world have been proactively deploying their resources to help ease pressure from India’s healthcare system. As a close friend of India, Russia has been at the forefront in helping India tide over this current crisis by sending crucial supplies of medical equipment, medicines and vaccines to augment capacity for an overburdened healthcare fraternity.
To this effect, the first tranche of medical assistance from Russia arrived in India in April weighing over 22 tons, comprising 20 oxygen production units, 75 ventilators and 2,00,000 packs of medicines.
With the Russian vaccine ‘Sputnik V’ getting the emergency use authorization in India in April, it became the first foreign-made vaccine to be granted approval for use in the country. Since then, Russia has been actively sending vaccine doses to India to be immediately deployed in the world’s largest, ongoing vaccination drive. In May, the first Sputnik V doses arrived on May 1 in the city of Hyderabad with a second tranche following it on May 16 while another three million doses are expected to arrive shortly. As recently as May 25, another Russian plane arrived in India carrying 9 tons of critical medical supplies, including 2,25,000 vials of the anti-viral Remdesivir, which has been widely used in treatment of Covid-19 patients.
As Russian humanitarian assistance continues to arrive in India, the Russian Ambassador in India has reiterated the importance of the Indo-Russian strategic partnership in these crucial times and serves as a timely reminder of what joint cooperation is capable of achieving even in the face of adversity.