British Prime Minister Boris Johnson will hold a virtual meeting with Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Tuesday to agree on a "huge range" of commitments to deepen cooperation between the two countries on areas like the coronavirus pandemic.
The British government will send 1,000 more ventilators from its surplus supply to Indian hospitals. This will be in addition to 200 ventilators, 495 oxygen concentrators and three oxygen generation units the UK has announced as part of its assistance package last week.
Apart from providing medical supplies, England's Chief Medical Officer Chris Whitty and Chief Scientific Advisor Patrick Vallance have spoken to their Indian counterparts for providing advice, insight and expertise.
The National Health Service (NHS) will establish a clinical advisory group led by NHS England Chief People Officer Prerana Issar to support India's COVID-19 response. This group, which will include researchers in global and public health alongside nurses and other health professionals, will work with institutions such as the All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS).
Corporates in the UK have also stepped in to help India tide through the second COVID-19 wave. The British Asian Trust (BAT) has issued an 'Oxygen for India' emergency appeal aimed at raising funds for oxygen concentrators that can be rapidly deployed to Indian hospitals. The appeal, backed by the Prince of Wales, has raised $13.82 million so far. Virgin Atlantic also sent 200 boxes of oxygen concentrators to Delhi with the help of Khalsa Aid.
Boris Johnson said, "The UK will always be there for India in its time of need."
Johnson added, "The terrible images we have seen in India in recent weeks are all the more powerful because of the close and enduring connection between the people of the UK and India. I am deeply moved by the surge of support the British people have provided to the people of India and am pleased the UK government has been able to play our part in providing life-saving assistance."
According to a Downing Street statement, "India has also provided support to the UK throughout the coronavirus pandemic. As the 'pharmacy of the world' the country has kept its borders open to supply the UK with vital medicine and PPE (personal protective equipment)- exporting over 11 million face masks and 3 million packets of paracetamol over the course of 2020."
Edited by Mehak Agarwal; with PTI inputs