As the French Rafale jets are keenly awaited in India, a French air force jet has delivered ventilators and tens of thousands of coronavirus test kits to help India as it heads towards its peak in the pandemic crisis, officials said.
The consignment, which in part was in response to India sending medicines as France suffered in the pandemic earlier this year, was handed over to the Indian Red Cross at a military airport in New Delhi.
The 130 ventilators, 50,000 test kits and 50,000 swab kits arrived as the number of pandemic cases in India passed 1.5 million while nearly 35,000 have died. With about 50,000 new infections now reported each day, India has the world’s fastest-growing caseload and its total is only behind Brazil and the United States.
In announcing the donation this week, France’s President Emmanuel Macron paid tribute to India for allowing the export of medicines in April to fight the coronavirus when there was an international shortage.
“When France was going through a critical phase of this public health crisis earlier this spring, India was by our side,” Macron said in a letter to India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
He said the medicines sent by India were “essential for the treatment of critically ill patients.”
The coronavirus also arrived as India took delivery of the first five of 36 Rafale fighter jets from France.
© Agence France-Presse