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US sends medical supplies to India to help in COVID-19 fight

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TRAVIS AIR FORCE BASE, Calif. -- A lot of progress has been made against COVID-19, but it's still a pandemic. As part of a whole-of-government effort to slow and eventually end the pandemic, the United States sent medical supplies and equipment to India April 28 as that country battles the most recent outbreak.

A C-5M Super Galaxy and C-17 Globemaster III loaded with oxygen cylinders and regulators, N95 masks and COVID-19 rapid diagnostic kits left Travis Air Force Base bound for India. The shipment is just the first. In all, the United States expects to deliver more than $100 million in medical supplies to the U.S. partner nation.

The medical supplies were donated to India by the U.S. government though the U.S. Agency for International Development. Airmen with the 60th Air Mobility Wing are responsible for delivering those supplies.

In the coming week, more oxygen cylinders will be sent, as will oxygen concentrators, oxygen generation units, additional personnel protective equipment, rapid diagnostic tests and therapeutics. The U.S. is also providing vaccine manufacturing supplies. In fact, the U.S. has redirected its own order of AstraZeneca manufacturing supplies to India, which will enable the country to make more than 20 million doses of the COVID-19 vaccine.

India is a major defense partner to the U.S. and providing assistance is just something partners do, said John F. Kirby, Pentagon press secretary, during a press briefing earlier this week.

"The United States deeply values our partnership with India," Kirby said. "We are determined to help the people in India as they bravely combat this outbreak."

During a visit to India last month, Secretary of Defense Lloyd J. Austin III said India is a major partner in the effort to keep a free and open Indo-Pacific region.

"As the world faces a pandemic and growing challenges to an open and stable international system, the U.S.-India relationship is a stronghold of a free and open Indo-Pacific region," Austin said. "And it's clear that the importance of this partnership, and its impact (on) the international, rules-based order will only grow in the years ahead."

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