US President Donald Trump on Saturday tweeted that his country would donate ventilators to India in the fight against COVID-19. "We stand with India and Prime Minister Narendra Modi during this pandemic," he wrote.
He also said that the United States is working with India on developing a vaccine for COVID-19, praising Indian-Americans as "great" scientists and researchers.
I am proud to announce that the United States will donate ventilators to our friends in India. We stand with India and @narendramodi during this pandemic. We're also cooperating on vaccine development. Together we will beat the invisible enemy!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) May 15, 2020
Addressing the media, Mr Trump said he is hopeful a COVID-19 vaccine would be available by the end of the year, and announced he was appointing a former pharmaceutical executive to spearhead the effort under a project called "Operation Warp Speed".
"I just got back a short while ago from India recently and we are working very much with India and we have a tremendous Indian population in the US and many of the people that you are talking about are working on the vaccine too. Great scientist and researchers," he told reporters in the Rose Garden of the White House as he unveiled the massive effort to speed track the development of coronavirus vaccine.
"Yes. We are working very closely also with India," Mr Trump said responding to a question and described PM Modi as a "very good friend" of him.
"India has been so great and as you know your Prime Minister has been a very good friend of mine," the US President said.
Mr Trump's praise comes just over a month after he hinted at a possible retaliation if India does not lift its hold on the export of Hydroxychloroquine, the anti-malaria drug used in the treatment of coronavirus patients. He later sent his thanks after India allowed the United States to buy 29 million doses.
India on Friday crossed the COVID-19 tally of China where the virus emerged late last year, registering 85,215 coronavirus cases, data from state health departments showed. India now is ranked 11th in the world in terms of coronavirus cases.
However, India's fatality rate still remains significantly better than China's at 3.2 per cent compared to 5.5 per cent. More than 27,000 people have recovered in India, according to the latest available data from the Union Health Ministry.
Across the world, more than 44 lakh people have been affected by the novel coronavirus with the US reporting nearly a third of the cases - by far the highest. Over 3 lakh people have died from the deadly respiratory disease. Russia, UK and Spain are at second, third and fourth spots with well over 2 lakh cases each.
(With inputs from agencies)