By Ateet Sharma
New Delhi, June 1 (IANS): Over the last four days, Japan has rushed 800 ventilators and 500 oxygen concentrators to India, showcasing Tokyo and New Delhis special ties as Indo-Pacific partners.
Japan handed over these ventilators and oxygen concentrators to India on May 28, 30 and 31.
The Japanese government has already announced that it would hand over 1,800 ventilators and 2,800 oxygen concentrators to India. The latest handover completes the first phase of medical assistance to India that began on May 14.
“We plan to hand over the remaining ventilators and oxygen concentrators in the near future,” the Japanese foreign ministry said on Tuesday.
“Japan stands with India, our friend and partner, in her efforts to fight against the Covid-19 pandemic through this emergency assistance, and hopes that Japan’s assistance will contribute to alleviating and containing the Covid-19 situation in India,” the ministry added.
Japanese assistance to India follows two top meetings e one between Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his Japanese counterpart Suga Yoshihide. This meeting on April 26 was followed up by another nuts-and-bolts interaction between External Affairs Minister S. Jaishankar and foreign minister Motegi Toshimitsu on the sidelines of G7 Foreign and Development Ministers’ Meeting in London, earlier this month.
Both meetings spotlighted that India and Japan’s special role in the Indo-Pacific provided the strategic impulse for intensive collaboration. “The two leaders confirmed the importance of Japan-India bilateral cooperation and multilateral cooperation, including Japan-Australia-India-U.S. quadrilateral cooperation, towards realizing a Free and Open Indo-Pacific. They also shared the view to continue their effort on building a rules-based free and open international order,” a readout of the statement after Modi-Yoshihide telephone talk said.
Besides the duo, going beyond health, listed the areas for joint forays, including 5G, laying of submarine cables, establishing new supply chains and development of India’s North Eastern Region.
On May 5 in London, Motegi told Jaishankar that Tokyo is ready to provide grant assistance of up to 50 million US dollars to India, based on the latter’s needs, in addition to the assistance pledged earlier. Significantly, Motegi prefaced his remarks by recalling that the two countries shared special bonds on account of the Indo-pacific partnership.
Referring to the Covid-19’s impact on India, Motegi said that “towards deepening the eJapan-India Special Strategic and Global Partnership’ and realising a eFree and Open Indo-Pacific,’ he looks forward to continue working with Minister Jaishankar.”
On May 14, Japan announced the Emergency Grant Aid of approximately 18.5 million US dollars to transport the 300 ventilators announced on April 30 through the United Nations Office for Project Services (UNOPS), as well as to provide additional 500 ventilators and 500 oxygen concentrators to India through UNOPS as a part of the assistance of up to 50 million dollars announced on May 5.
The 500 ventilators were handed over to India on May 30 and the 500 oxygen concentrators were handed over to India on May 31.
On May 28, the government of Japan announced the Emergency Grant Aid of approximately 14.8 million US dollars. Through this assistance, 1,000 ventilators and 2,000 oxygen concentrators will be provided to India through UNOPS as a part of the assistance of up to 50 million dollars announced on May 5.
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