After days of verbal spats, an Indian Air Force special flight, carrying around 15 tonnes of medical products, departed for the Chinese city of Wuhan on Wednesday.
The assistance, comprising masks, gloves, and emergency medical equipment, has been provided on the request of China.
“The medical supplies will help augment China’s efforts to control the outbreak of this infection which has been declared a Public Health Emergency by the World Health Organisation,” Indian Foreign Ministry announced on Wednesday.
The flight will also "bring back some Indian and foreign nationals from some of our neighbouring countries who have sought assistance in travelling to India”, the foreign ministry added.
The initiative to send medical aid to the coronavirus-hit nation was launched after Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi had written to Chinese President Xi Jinping on 8 February and "offered assistance to China in this hour of need as a gift”.
However, the two countries later engaged in a verbal row, accusing each other of delaying clearance to the Indian flight for unspecified reasons. Last Sunday, the Chinese embassy in Delhi categorically pointed out that India had prohibited the export of essential medical products. New Delhi admitted that it had put some “restrictions on the export of certain medical equipment in view of the fact that these items are in short supply in India too”.
On Tuesday, the US and India expressed their commitment to supporting global efforts to prevent, detect, and respond to disease outbreaks such as COVID-19, or the novel Coronavirus 2019.
PM Modi and US President Donald Trump hailed a bilateral Memorandum of Understanding that seeks to promote access to high quality, safe, effective, and affordable medications for Indian and U.S. consumers.
The new coronavirus, officially known as COVID-19, was first detected in central China in December 2019 and has since spread to some 30 countries, prompting the World Health Organisation (WHO) to declare a global health emergency.