Indian Americans in US Congress, tech organise COVID-19 aid to India

In a show of solidarity, CEOs of some 40 top American companies have come together to create a global task force to mobilise resources to help India fight the battle against COVID-19.

A collective initiative of the US-India Business Council of the US Chambers of Commerce, and the US-India Strategic and Partnership Forum and Business Roundtable, the task force during its meeting here on Monday committed to get 20,000 oxygen concentrators to India in the next few weeks.

The new US public-private partnership to provide India critical medical supplies, vaccines, oxygen, and other life-saving assistance amid an unprecedented surge in coronavirus cases is called the Global Task Force on Pandemic Response: Mobilising for India.The first-of-its-kind country-specific global task force to address a public health crisis in another country was addressed by US Secretary of State Tony Blinken.

The conversation showed how the United States and India can leverage the expertise and capabilities of the US private sector towards solutions for India's COVID-19 crisis, Blinken said in a tweet.

US Representative Ro Khanna, Democratic vice chair of the Congressional Caucus on India said that Indian-American billionaire and Sun Microsystems co-founder Vinod Khosla and other Indian-American tech executives at Google, IBM and Microsoft are working closely with the bipartisan Congressional Caucus on India.

The group is trying to match Indian hospitals and other facilities with supplies of oxygen and other urgently needed medical equipment, and pushing the White House to do more for India, the world's largest democracy, as a surge in infections overwhelms hospitals.

On Twitter, Khosla offered to fund the bulk import of oxygen and other supplies to India. Khanna said Khosla has offered to underwrite the initiative.

Google said on Monday it was donating another $18 million in India for victims and medical supplies, and confirmed chief executive Sundar Pichai was personally donating $700,000 to UNICEF's India response. Indian immigrants and their offspring, some with deep pockets, are a powerful political force in the United States, and dozens of Indian Americans have roles in the Biden administration.Demographers estimate there are close to 4 million people of Indian descent in the United States.

The United States has faced criticism in India where local vaccine makers struggled to buy raw materials from U.S. suppliers. Administration officials insist there is no export ban in place, although the US Defence Production Act allows the government to give preference to U.S. manufacturers.

The Indian-American caucus is meeting with the Indian ambassador this week to see what else can be done to speed distribution of unused AstraZeneca vaccines and other supplies to India, Khanna said.

 

Source: Wionews