WASHINGTON: The US has agreed to lift export restrictions to provide vaccine material to India, which is battling the devastating second wave of COVID.
The assurance was conveyed by the US National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan to his Indian counterpart, Ajit Doval over the phone on Sunday.
Expressing his deep sympathy for Indians suffering from the recent COVID spike, Sullivan is reported to have affirmed American solidarity with India.
"Just as India sent assistance to the United States as our hospitals were strained early in the pandemic, the United States is determined to help India in its time of need.
To this end, the United States is working around the clock to deploy available resources and supplies, it said.
India's long-pending request has finally been heard after America faced massive criticisms for refusing to provide critical supplies to India when the country is facing a crisis.
In addition to raw materials for vaccine production, the US has also reportedly identified supplies of therapeutics, rapid diagnostic test kits, ventilators and personal protective equipment (PPE) that would be immediately made available for India. Further, oxygen generation equipment and associated supplies are also being pursued, the statement adds.
The statement further mentioned that the U.S. Development Finance Corporation (DFC) is funding a substantial expansion of manufacturing capability for BioE, the vaccine manufacturer in India, enabling BioE to ramp up to produce at least 1 billion doses of COVID-19 vaccines by the end of 2022.
The US, which had earlier said its primacy was for its citizens, changed its stance on lifting export controls on raw materials for vaccines that were put in place in February, following repeated requests from Indian officials and the Serum Institute of India (SII).
(with inputs from IANS)