From Cryogenic Oxygen Containers To Concentrators To Ventilators, Here's How Singapore Helped India Amid COVID Crisis

From Cryogenic Oxygen Containers To Concentrators To Ventilators, Here's How Singapore Helped India Amid COVID CrisisSingapore’s PM Lee Hsien Loong with PM Modi. (Arvind Yadav/ Hindustan Times via Getty Images)

In April, 2021 India experienced a sudden spike in Covid-19 cases which is called a second wave by many. The second wave has posed a new challenge to India’s health system that the country did not face before, shortage of medical oxygen.

As Liquid Medical oxygen (LMO) became new gold, governments roped in both public and private companies to produce it. But more than its production, its transportation from point of production which are large scale industries to centres of use which are mainly hospitals located in cities has become a problem.

Transportation and distribution of LMO is a challenge as it needs special cryogenic tankers and equipment which is not available in quantity that is needed to tackle the second wave.

At this moment, Singapore with a population of over just five million truly acted as a comprehensive partner and a logistics hub for over 120 crore people of India by supplying cryogenic tankers and other necessary equipment.

It all began with a three sentence text message between external affairs minister S Jaishankar and foreign minister Vivian Balakrishnan on 22 April, reports Hindustan Times.

India procured 46 cryogenic or ISO containers from Singapore which were landed at Panagarh, Chennai and Hindon, Ghaziabad. In addition to the ISO tanks, India has procured thousands of oxygen cylinders, oxygen concentrators, BiPAP machines / ventilators and other items. They were transported on IAF aircrafts and Indian Navy ships.

Also on 28 April, Singapore sent oxygen cylinders and other material on two of its own Air Force aircraft.

Singapore’s Temasek Foundation, in partnership with a number of Singaporean companies, donated over 8000 oxygen concentrators, 51,000 oximeters, over 900 BiPAP machines and 27 ventilators.

Cooperation and coordination between both countries and among Indian government departments along with swift response from Indian Air Force (IAF) and Indian Navy made it possible.

Beside IAF’s C-17, IL-76, C-130 aircraft, Indian Navy’s amphibious warfare ship INS Airawat played a crucial role in the whole mission.

India-Singapore relations are based on shared values and approaches, economic opportunities and convergence of interests on key issues.

Political engagement is regular. Defence relations are particularly strong. Economic and technological ties are extensive and growing. Cultural and human links are very vibrant.

There are more than 20 regular bilateral mechanisms, dialogues and exercises. There is great convergence on a broad range of international issues and both are members of a number of forums, including East Asia Summit, G20, Commonwealth, IORA (Indian Ocean Rim Association) and IONS (Indian Ocean Naval Symposium).

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