External Affairs Minister Dr S Jaishankar has said that coronavirus is a shared problem. In time of need, India exported medicines like hydroxychloroquine to many countries and sent vaccines too, he pointed out. He said that what has been now termed as 'aid', the government calls it 'friendship'. Dr Jaishankar also said he would do whatever he can as an external affairs minister to help the people of the country.
"COVID-19 is a shared problem for the world. When it came to medicines, we gave HCQ to the US, Singapore, European countries. We have given vaccines to some countries. What you describe as aid, we call friendship," he told news agency ANI on the reported shift in policy of receiving aid from foreign countries.
The External Affairs Minister said, "I think this kind of aid...this kind of argument is sort of point-scoring. I think people aren't connecting conceptually with the problem...when I look at the situation in Delhi, I will do everything in my power to help people."
He said he has one objective -- his people are going through a very difficult phase in the second wave of COVID-19 and as a foreign minister, he will do everything he can with everything he has accumulated over the years to help these people.
The minister's comments come at a time when questions are being raised about the transparency of distributing the foreign aid that has come to India. As many as 40 countries have committed to help India to brave the deadly second wave.
On Tuesday, the central government issued a statement elaborating on the steps taken to ensure expeditious distribution of the medical aid received from the global community. It said that medical infrastructure of 31 states have been strengthened with the help of foreign aid.
BiPAP machines, oxygen (oxygen concentrators, oxygen cylinders, PSA oxygen plants, pulse oximeters), drugs (Faviparivir and Remdesivir), PPE (coveralls, N-95 masks and gowns) are some of the categories of equipment that have been distributed.
The Centre said that equipment has either reached or being dispatched to 31 states and UTs -- Andhra Pradesh, Assam, Bihar, Chandigarh, Chhattisgarh, D&N Haveli, Delhi, Goa, Gujarat, Haryana, Himachal Pradesh, J&K, Jharkhand, Karnataka, Kerala, Ladakh, Lakshadweep, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Manipur, Meghalaya, Mizoram, Odisha, Puducherry, Punjab, Rajasthan, Tamil Nadu, Telangana, Uttar Pradesh, Uttarakhand, and West Bengal.