Indian envoy, expats hail ‘crucial’ Saudi aid in virus battle

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Riyadh: India’s ambassador to Saudi Arabia and expats living in the Kingdom have praised Saudi aid efforts to help their country in the fight against the coronavirus disease (COVID-19).

“As strategic partners, India and Saudi Arabia have always stood by each other. During the COVID-19 crisis in India, there has been tremendous support from the Kingdom, both from the government and various businesses,” Ausaf Sayeed told Arab News.

Saudi Arabia on Sunday shipped another consignment of liquid medical oxygen to India to help the country deal with a shortage amid a deadly second wave of the pandemic.

“At the government-to-government level, (Saudi) Aramco recently announced a shipment of three containers with 60 metric tons of oxygen, with more likely in the coming months,” he added.

“Before this, several companies and community organizations sent shipments through B2B efforts, taking the total oxygen sent from the Kingdom to 300 metric tons, besides more than 6,000 oxygen cylinders and several oxygen concentrators.”

Sayeed expressed his gratitude to the Saudi leadership, King Salman and Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, and the authorities and “all others who have been helpful in facilitating all approvals and support for quick shipment of the relief materials.”

This expression of solidarity is “extremely important,” he added, highlighting the growing ties between the two countries, especially since the elevation of the relationship to a strategic partnership, which covers all dimensions including political, economic, defense, security and culture.

Cooperation in the health sector has also been an important aspect of this partnership, which was also reflected in India exporting various pharmaceutical products last year, and COVID-19 vaccines earlier this year, said the ambassador.

India has struggled with a major outbreak of COVID-19, which is now starting to ease.

Praising the Saudi help, Gayas Ahmed Sattar, an Indian doctor who has lived in the Kingdom for over two decades and is currently medical director at Abad specialized clinics in Riyadh, told Arab News: “Timely help is God’s help. In this time of crisis, it’s a story of inspiration and hope where two nations help each other.”
He said that the Kingdom has always been a leading participant in humanitarian causes all over the world.

Sattar added that COVID-19 management inside the Kingdom has been “excellent,” both for citizens and expatriates, and thanked the authorities for their support and management of the crisis.

“From my personal point of view, some of my close friends and relatives have immensely benefited by the timely help from the Kingdom. It helped them get the right treatment at the right time, which surely helped save many lives,” he said.

Dr. Shaikh Abdullah, an Indian doctor working in Riyadh with King Abdullah Specialized Children’s Hospital, National Guard, praised the  “good gesture” on the Kingdom’s part, which has shown generosity and solidarity with India in a time of crisis.

“As the second wave hits India hard, the country has faced a shortage of many essential medical supplies to battle the deadly virus, including oxygen, which is a very important tool in curing COVID-19 patients,” he told Arab News.

“Saudi Arabia has been one of the first countries to act on this and help India, supplying it earlier with oxygen, and now once more in its time of dire need.”

Abdullah, who has been involved in the treatment of patients battling the virus for around a year, said that once the disease progresses and a patient’s condition worsens, one of the most important components of treatment is oxygen, hence a shortage of oxygen spells disaster for the patients.

He added that many of his relatives who had no access to oxygen early in the second wave in India now able to get help — “all thanks to the kind gestures of the Kingdom and other countries.”