CEOs of 40 top US companies create global task force to help India amid crisis

As countries around the world lend support to India in its battle against the COVID-19 pandemic, around 40 top American companies are doing their bit to help strengthen the country’s fight against the devastating health crisis. In a show of solidarity, CEOs of 40 top American companies have come together to create a global task force and mobilise resources to India as it scrambles for crucial medical supplies amid an unprecedented surge in Coronavirus cases.

A collective initiative of the US-India Business Council of the US Chambers of Commerce, and the US-India Strategic and Partnership Forum and Business Roundtable on Monday committed to supplying 20,000 oxygen concentrators to India in the next few weeks, Deloitte CEO Puneet Renjen said.

The new US public-private partnership to provide critical medical supplies, vaccines, oxygen and other life-saving assistance to India under is called the ‘Global Task Force on Pandemic Response: Mobilizing for India’.

Renjen said they have commitments to get 20,000 oxygen concentrators to India in the next few weeks. The first 1,000 will arrive in the middle of this week, he said, adding that by May 5, they expect another 11,000 oxygen concentrators to reach the country. “Our goal is to get 25,000, and maybe even a number higher than that,” he added.

The second issue is to look at oxygen cylinders with 10-litre and 45-litre capacity and to get other supplies like monitoring kits, Renjen said. Welcoming the conversation between Prime Minister Narendra Modi and President Joe Biden and the decision of the US to urgently send supplies to India, the Deloitte CEO reiterated that the two countries are natural allies.

The fight against COVID-19 is personal for Renjen as many of his family members back in Haryana have contracted the disease. Besides, more than 2,000 of Deloitte’s employees in India have been infected, he said.

Vaccine supply, medical assistance

“We are facilitating individuals getting the vaccines. We are providing them medical assistance, home testing kits. This is being consistently done by all entities that have big footprints in India. That is really important to do,” Renjen said.

The task force also comprises representations from the retail sector, e-commerce, pharmaceutical, technology industry and large manufacturing entities. “This global crisis requires a global response, and the American business community could not be better positioned, or more determined, to help lead the way, said Suzanne Clark, president and chief executive officer of the US Chamber of Commerce.

These US companies are coordinating with the Indian Ambassador to the US, Taranjit Singh Sandhu. Earlier in the week, he gave them the list of items that are of critical need such as oxygen concentrators, oxygen generators, two anti-viral medicines that the US government can release, monitoring kits, and easing the supply of critical materials for vaccines.

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