Washington DC [USA], April 7 : Senior US diplomat Alice Wells has said that at least 29,000 US citizens have flown back from South and Central Asian countries, including India on 13 repatriation flights.
In a briefing to journalists, Wells said, "As of today, the United States has orgsed 13 flights from South and Central Asia, including special flights home for about 2,900 US citizens from India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Nepal, Uzbekistan and Turkmenistan."
Talking specifically about the special flights to India, she said that the State Department is working with local authorities to provide assistance to American citizens stranded in different parts of India.
"In India, we are responding to requests for assistance from thousands of Americans located in cities and villages spread across a vast area. So far, we have supported the repatriations of about 1,300 American citizens there despite the lockdown conditions," Wells stated.
She added, "In addition to the heroic work of US government personnel throughout the region, we are really very grateful to our counterparts in South and Central Asia. Whether it is local, regional, national governments, health officials, customs and migration services, law enforcement agencies, civil aviation authorities and airport workers, it really is a team effort.
Meanwhile, addressing the situation on hydroxychloroquine between India and the US, President Donald Trump, in a phone call with Prime Minister Narendra Modi, requested New Delhi to consider lifting a hold on its order.
Hydroxychloroquine is an anti-malaria drug that can be used in treatment of coronavirus patients.
Wells said, "I think you received a very strong sort of affirmation in the call between the Prime Minister and the President yesterday of the fact that the US and India need to work together to respond to the COVID-19 challenge, to be a solution to the threat posed by the virus. So, India has long been a significant partner of the United States and the pharmaceutical sector. It is one of our top imports from India in 2018."
"India is obviously one of the world's leaders in the supply of generic drugs. It represents a significant portion of the precursor pharmaceuticals that supply the US market," she further said.
( With inputs from ANI )