India has contracted Chinese companies to supply nearly 1.5 crore kits of personal protective equipment, or PPE, comprising gowns, gloves, masks and goggles amid the Covid-19 outbreak, Indian ambassador to China Vikram Misri said on Tuesday. India is also in touch with these firms to procure 15 lakh rapid testing kits for Covid-19, he said, according to the Hindustan Times. Some of these items have already reached India, he added.
Misri, in a virtual press conference held in Beijing, said that India has requested China to speed up the export of the medical equipment. New Delhi is also in communication with Beijing on keeping the supply line of active pharmaceutical ingredients open for manufacturing generic drugs, Misri said.
The Indian Council of Medical Research had on April 13 said an order for five lakh rapid testing kits from China had been delayed again. As many as 2.5 lakh of the total number of kits were to be delivered by April 5, and then April 8 or April 9, but now those may arrive on April 15, the council had said in its daily briefing.
“At this time, I think facilitation of our needs and our requirements in a timely manner, in a smooth manner, on a predictable timeline at prices that are stable and orderly would be the best signal possible to send for the India-China relationship,” the ambassador said. Misri claimed the import of products from China would bolster the India-China relationship.
Misri added that when the coronavirus outbreak in China was at its peak, India had offered and provided it medical assistance, The Indian Express reported.
India has so far recorded 11,439 cases of the virus, including 377 deaths and 1,305 recoveries, according to the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare.