World

Coronavirus: Oxygen Arrives In India From UK To Battle Outbreak

An Indian Air Force C-17 Globemaster III landed at RAF Brize Norton yesterday to collect the oxygen cylinders.

An urgent delivery of oxygen cylinders from the UK has arrived in India to help with the south Asian country's rise in coronavirus cases.

An Indian Air Force C-17 Globemaster III landed at RAF Brize Norton yesterday to collect the vital medical supplies as India attempts to gather resources for its overburdened hospitals.

It is part of the latest aid being offered to India by the UK, following last week's promise to provide a further 1,000 ventilators to help the country's healthcare system, which is facing a surge in COVID cases and deaths.

India is facing a national health crisis as its official count of coronavirus cases surpassed 20 million on Tuesday, nearly doubling in the past three months, while the number of deaths is more than 220,000.

Last month UK Defence Secretary Ben Wallace hailed HMS Queen Elizabeth's upcoming Carrier Strike Group's deployment as a sign of a burgeoning defence partnership between the two countries.

He said: "The UK and India are natural defence partners, particularly in world-class research, development and training.

"The Carrier Strike Group's collaboration with India will build the foundations for this relationship to flourish even further.

"The deployment is a symbol of Global Britain in action, and powerfully demonstrates our commitment to India, the Indo-Pacific region, and confronting threats to international order."

As part of a greater strategic focus on the Indo-Pacific region, the maiden deployment will see the UK conduct joint exercises with India, secure passage through trade routes and attend trade events at West Coast Ports.

The British military has been responding to coronavirus since the start of the pandemic, including other tasks overseas.

Last month, Royal Air Force and Royal Navy personnel helped to transport coronavirus vaccines to Tristan da Cunha, the most remote inhabited island in the world.

In February, the RAF flew 4,000 miles to deliver vaccine doses to Ascension Island, a sovereign base used as a bridging point in the South Atlantic.

Cover image: MOD.