US secretary of state Antony Blinken on Wednesday announced an additional $25 million in financial assistance from the US government to support India's vaccination program.
After delegation-level talks between the two sides, Blinken told a press briefing that the funding will help save lives by strengthening vaccine supply chains across India as the country is yet to reach a double-digit mark in the percentage of fully vaccinated individuals.
"This funding will contribute to saving a life by strengthening vaccine supply chain logistics, addressing misinformation, vaccine hesitancy and helping to train more health care workers," he said.
During the joint press conference, external affairs minister S Jaishankar acknowledged Biden's administration response in keeping the raw materials supply chain open for vaccine production in India and thanked the US for the "exceptional" support during the second Covid wave.
The latest funding through the US Agency for International Development (USAID) is on top of more than $200 million worth of Covid-19 assistance announced by the US government. Blinken stressed that the two countries are determined to end the Covid-19 pandemic in India and the United States.
The top US diplomat said the Covid-19 hit both countries very hard and the US will not forget the aid and assistance India provided early in the pandemic. "I am proud we could return the gesture to India," he added.
The two sides discussed a range of issues including regional security, travel challenges during the Covid-19 pandemic, and cooperation on defence and security. Speaking on the Afghan issue which has tremendous implications on regional security, Blinken said both sides are committed to the proposition that there is no military solution to the conflict.