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US support for India strictly humanitarian: State Dept.

By Yonhap

Published : April 27, 2021 - 09:25

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The captured image from the website of the US Department of State shows department spokesman Ned Price speaking in a daily press briefing at the State Department in Washington last Wednesday. (Yonhap) The captured image from the website of the US Department of State shows department spokesman Ned Price speaking in a daily press briefing at the State Department in Washington last Wednesday. (Yonhap)
WASHINGTON -- The United States' support for India to deal with its latest spike in the COVID-19 outbreak is strictly based on humanitarian and health considerations, a State Department spokesman said Monday, dismissing views that the US may be choosing to help India over others for political reasons.

Ned Price also argued the US support for India largely aims to contain the virus from further affecting the United States and other countries.

"It certainly goes without saying that India is enduring a horrific outbreak. We have a global comprehensive strategic partnership with India, but the secretary has been clear -- this is not about shots in arms in return for political favors, in return for any sort of transactions," the spokesman said in a daily press briefing.

"This is about America's humanitarian leadership -- the commitment that this administration has to help those most in need, and, of course, what India is enduring now is profoundly concerning," added Price.

The White House earlier announced plans to send relief supplies to India that include raw materials used to produce COVID-19 vaccines.

The US earlier turned down requests for relief supplies, including vaccines, saying the country has already done more than any to help other countries in its de facto rejection of such requests.

South Korea too had asked the US to provide vaccines under a swap arrangement that would allow it be paid back with vaccines later. It has since secured an additional 40 million doses on its own for its 52 million people. The country has so far secured enough vials to vaccinate 99 million people.

Price noted the support for India will not include vaccines.

"We are working nonstop across the government to do all we can to deliver on an urgent basis these supplies most needed within India, and that includes oxygen assistance and related materials, but it also includes supplies, therapeutics, rapid diagnostic test kits, ventilators, personal protective equipment or PPE -- all supplies to protect India's frontline health-care workers," he said.

He added the supplies will include "raw materials" urgently required for the manufacturing of COVID vaccine.

"I would say broadly that it's based on a couple things," Price said of reasons for the US decision to help India.

"One is the broad recognition that as long as this virus is spreading anywhere, it is a threat to people everywhere. That point applies to COVID in India. It applies to COVID in the United States. It applies to COVID anywhere around the world," he said. (Yonhap)