The Boeing-built aircraft has transported vital supplies to support the COVID-19 recovery effort in the subcontinent.
To assist with the COVID-19 response in India, Nepal and Sri Lanka, the ADF has sent a C-17A Globemaster aircraft from Perth, carrying medical supplies and PPE equipment.
This is the latest of a number of deliveries to the subcontinent, with 19 of India’s 36 states and union territories already receiving Australian medical supplies from previous missions, including 3,000 ventilators and 250 oxygen concentrators.
The deliveries form part of the Commonwealth government’s $37.1 million package of support for India, supported by the Indian government, the Indian Red Cross Society and local authorities.
The C-17A Globemaster’s cargo included an eight-tonne oxygen tank, purchased by Indian firm Tata Steel, which is used to store and transport medical oxygen in bulk.
This is in addition to the Indian Air Force’s airlift of other oxygen tanks from Australia on 5 May.
PPE, donated by the Western Australian government and delivered to Nepal and Sri Lanka, was also carried by the aircraft, supporting the $7 million in Commonwealth funding for emergency relief to Nepal.
Canberra has also committed $5.5 million for emergency relief in Sri Lanka as it grapples with the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.
Sri Lanka allowed Mattala Airport to be used as the hub for the delivery and distribution of the supplies to neighbouring countries.
“Just as India provided vaccines to the Pacific – including through COVAX – Australia is supporting India and its neighbours,” Minister for Defence Peter Dutton, Minister for Foreign Affairs Marise Payne, and Minister for International Development and the Pacific Zed Seselja, noted in a joint statement.
“Australia continues to work in partnership with our neighbours in the Indo-Pacific to support our shared regional recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic and to protect lives and livelihoods.”
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