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India airlifts vital medicine, medical equipment to Maldives

Mariyam Malsa
02 April 2020, MVT 19:36
Medicine shipments airlifted to Maldives by the Indian Air Force (IAF). PHOTO: MINISTRY OF FOREIGN AFFAIRS
Mariyam Malsa
02 April 2020, MVT 19:36

The Indian Air Force (IAF), on Thursday, airlifted 6.2 tonnes of essential medicines and hospital consumables to Maldives during Operation Sanjeevani.

IAF's C-130 aircraft transported the medicine shipments, previously ordered by the State Trading Organisation (STO), from eight Indian suppliers at the request of the Maldivian government.

The medicine could not be delivered to Maldives through other means after India implemented a 21-day lockdown to contain the spread of COVID-19.

The IAF aircraft collected the shipments from airports in New Delhi, Mumbai, Chennai and Madurai. The Indian Army had transported the medicine from warehouses across India to the aforementioned airports on Wednesday.

The airlifted supplies include influenza vaccines and anti-viral drugs such as lopinavir and ritonavir which have been used to treat patients with COVID-19 in other countries. The STO procured shipments also contain medicine for cardiac conditions, kidney ailments, hypertension, high blood pressure, diabetes, arthritis, allergies and cancer treatment, anticonvulsants, as well as consumables such as catheters, nebulisers, urine bags and infant feeding tubes.

Minister of Foreign Affairs Abdulla Shahid thanked Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Indian Minister of External Affairs Dr Subrahmanyam Jaishankar.

The High Commission of India expressed gratitude to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Maldivian National Defence Force (MNDF), STO and other stakeholders who participated in operation Sanjeevani. The commission also stated that the airlift demonstrates India’s commitment to maintaining supplies of essential medicine even in the most challenging circumstances.

In addition to donating 5.5 tonnes of essential medicines to Maldives on March 14, India also sent a 14-member rapid response team of doctors and specialists to boost the country's capacity to deal with the COVID-19 pandemic.

Maldives is the first country in the region to have received essential medicines since the lockdown commenced in India.

The Indian Armed Forces have historically provided key humanitarian services in Maldives, including the neutralization of the 1988 coup attempt, disaster relief in the aftermath of the 2004 tsunami and the supply of drinking water to the capital city of Male during Operation Neer in 2014. Additionally, two MNDF Advanced Light Helicopters donated by India were instrumental in saving more than 250 lives.

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