Prof (Dr) Ratnesh Dwivedi *** Amidst the Tsunami of the Wuhan Virus which has infected up to 2.3 Million people in India alone with more than 300 hundred thousands infections per day, the Union Government of India led by Hon. Prime Minister Sri Narendra Modi and several other state Governments including Uttar Pradesh, Gujrat, Chhattisgarh, Bihar, Rajasthan, Haryana, Delhi, Maharashtra, Kerala, Karnataka are struggling hard for Oxygen and lifesaving drugs while all Government and Private hospitals remains occupied with Covid patients waiting outside in the lobby or in long queues. the situation started improving once paramilitary and Military were brought in action and NSA Ajit Doval broke the ice with his US Counterpart to lift the embargo on supply of raw materials needed for vaccine manufacturing. This was added up with a half an hour conversation of Prime Minister Modi with President Biden. It may well be understood that top world leader might have held discussions behind close doors to offer a helping hand to India. Today first plane loaded with medical assistance landed in Delhi while more are on the way followed by help from USA and Australia. Russia is next. But India is a bit skeptical about offer of help from China. Before this a press statement from the British high Commission in New Delhi said the UK was dispatching “more than 600 pieces of vital medical equipment" to “support the country in its fight against Covid-19." President Joe Biden spoke to India's Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Monday, pledging U.S. assistance after growing pressure on Washington to help. The U.S. will also share as many as 60 million doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine with other countries "as they become available," according to the White House senior adviser for COVID response Andy Slavitt. The White House has not said yet which countries will receive those doses. Public health experts and aid agencies had been urging the Biden administration to start sharing COVID-19 vaccine dose as the U.S. population is increasingly vaccinated, but outbreaks worsen in several other parts of the world -- risking the mutation of new variants and stalling the reopening of the global economy. Yesterday National Security Advisor of USA Jake Sullivan spoke by phone today with National Security Advisor Ajit Doval, expressing deep sympathy for the people of India following the recent spike in COVID-19 cases. Mr. Sullivan affirmed America’s solidarity with India, the two countries with the greatest number of COVID-19 cases in the world. Building on the seven-decade health partnership between the United States and India —including battles against smallpox, polio, and HIV — they resolved that India and the United States will continue to fight the global COVID-19 pandemic together. 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. The United States has identified sources of specific raw material urgently required for Indian manufacture of the Covishield vaccine that will immediately be made available for India. To help treat COVID-19 patients and protect front-line health workers in India, the United States has identified supplies of therapeutics, rapid diagnostic test kits, ventilators, and Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) that will immediately be made available for India. The United States also is pursuing options to provide oxygen generation and related supplies on an urgent basis. 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. Additionally, the United States is deploying an expert team of public health advisors from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and USAID to work in close collaboration with the U.S. Embassy, India’s health ministries, and India’s Epidemic Intelligence Service staff. USAID will also quickly work with CDC to support and fast-track the mobilization of emergency resources available to India through the Global Fund. On other note Australia has also realized India’s assistance during its COVID peak time when Australian PM told to Press,” Today the National Security Committee met and we were considering a large number of matters, as is normal for the National Security Committee, but in particular we met today to address the situation in India and the terrible humanitarian crisis that is unfolding in India. We recognize that this has been a very significant outbreak in India and we know for Australians who have family in India at this time that they will be very distressed. From the scenes we are seeing from India, they are truly heartbreaking. India is a great friend of Australia and a comprehensive strategic partner. We share so much in common as peoples, as democratic nations, and we extend our deepest sympathies and condolences and our support to the nation of India and the people of India and the Prime Minister of India, Prime Minister Modi. They are dear friends of Australia and we will stand with them during this terrible crisis and for all Australians who are caught up in this terrible set of events”. “The number of cases continues to increase. 325,000 new COVID cases on April 25, on Anzac Day, and over 2,800 deaths. There are significant shortages of key personal protection equipment, medical equipment and oxygen supplies and a severe disruption of the production capabilities of India because of the impact of COVID on their population. Australia, by contrast, has obviously had a different experience and that places us in a unique position among many countries to lend our support to India at this time. India has also been determined to be a high-risk country under the process we have put in place for the purpose of travel arrangements. Not only do we need to reach out and support our friends and family and all of those across India but we also need to take appropriate steps to ensure that we, here in Australia, we have border protection arrangements upgraded, and put in place, to deal with the risks that clearly present from travel from India”. “Today we agreed, in addition to the measures that were announced after the last National Cabinet meeting, to pause direct passenger flights between India and Australia until the 15th of May. It will be reviewed prior to that time in terms of any further extension of that pause in those arrangements. This will impact directly on two passenger services from India into Sydney and two repatriation flights from India to Darwin, this impacting around 500 arrivals. The passengers on all future flights, when and if these flights are resumed going forward, will be required to have both a negative PCR test and a negative rapid antigen test prior to uplift. Further flights to India will be considered, as I said, prior to the 15th of May with a focus on supporting vulnerable Australians, in particular in relation to charter flights that have been put in place by the Australian Government. For indirect flights, that is another way that people who may have been in India would come to Australia, and already it has been announced and we are advised that indirect flights through Doha, Dubai, Singapore and Kuala Lumpur, we are aware flights to and from these transit points and India have been paused by the respective governments. So that third country entry point into Australia has already been closed by those key embarkation points to Australia. That will obviously have impacts, in a positive way, in terms of restricting the inflow and in fact in most cases eliminating it and for places like Perth and South Australia and ports that do not have direct flights”. “In addition to the existing, this is all in addition to the existing arrangements that we put in place, including restrictions on outbound travel to India as a high risk destination last week. But we also have to reach out and support India. As many countries are doing, what Australia will do is we will provide an initial package, I stress this is an initial package, there will be more to follow, of support and to deliver this as soon as possible. 509 ventilators, 1 million surgical masks, 500,000 P2 and N95 masks, 100,000 surgical gowns, 100,000 goggles, 100,000 pairs of gloves, and 20,000 face shields. We will also agree to commence procurement of 100 oxygen concentrators, along with tanks and consumables. DFAT will manage the movement of this equipment over the course of the next week. I will ask the Foreign Minister to speak more to the support we’re providing to Australian residents who are in India. We are standing with those Australians in India and recognize the very serious difficulties that they face. A hardship program which has been in place for many, many months now continues to be available to provide support to Australians in those circumstances and consular support continues to be available. I particularly want to commend our High Commissioner, Barry O'Farrell, for the great work he and all his consular team are doing in India right now. As you can imagine, they have been getting considerable requests, and the work they have been doing to respond and support Australians in India is highly commendable”. “I also want to note, over these weeks ahead, the Australian Government will be reaching out through the Department of Home Affairs directly through the Minister and the Minister for Immigration and Multicultural Affairs, to engage with the Australian community with Indian descent and reaching out to them, listening to them, engaging in roundtables with community leaders to keep them informed of the information we have available as well as listening to them about what they are hearing on what they are understanding of the experiences of family members and friends and other associates in India. It is very important we remain in close contact with them over the course of what will be a highly stressful period for those Australians who are caught up or have family members affected by this humanitarian crisis in India. And we are very keen to make sure they know that we are standing with them during what is an incredibly difficult time for them and their families and communities”. Senator the Hon. Marise Payne, Minister for Foreign Affairs and Women: “I want to start by acknowledging Judy Baird and her family. Coincidently and completely serendipitously, I have known Judy Baird since I was a teenager, she was my careers counsellor at school, at high school. So, I know this will be a very, very difficult time for the whole Baird family, who have been great friends of ours for many, many years and my warm sympathies and thoughts as well”. “Prime Minister, I also want to send our thoughts to our friends in India. This is no doubt a very difficult time for many, many people. I have been in touch with my very good friend and colleague Foreign Secretary Jaishankar in relation to these issues and assured him of Australia's very best wishes and our strong support, which we are commencing with the announcements from today. I also want to reaffirm the great leadership and generosity that India has shown to the global community throughout this pandemic. They have, in fact, exported over 66 million WHO approved vaccines across the world. I know in our own region how important this has been, and in the Pacific, it includes gifting vaccine doses to Nauru and Fiji. It has also manufactured vaccine doses for Papua New Guinea, for the Solomon Islands, being delivered though the COVAX facility and we warmly acknowledge that generosity. As the Prime Minister did, we also know that for Australians in India and their loved ones, this is a very difficult time. For Indian Australians, many here in Australia will be very concerned about family as well”.