Navy to pick 2,000 tonnes of oxygen from UAE, Kuwait and Qatar to battle Covid
The Indian Navy is also considering redeploying its largest landing platform dock (LPD) INS Jalashwa to pick up supplies from the Gulf allies.
After successfully establishing two logistics lines with key allies in West Asia and South-East Asia, the Indian Navy is expected to pick up 600 metric tonnes (MT) of liquid medical oxygen from Qatar, 400 MTs from United Arab Emirates (UAE) and 1000 MTs from Kuwait in the next 30 days. Landing Ship Tank (LST) INS Shardul is already in Kuwait since May 12 and will depart for India on May 15 with 120 MTs of liquid oxygen.
Just as India came to the aid of these countries during the first wave of the pandemic, the West Asian allies with countries like France adding to the heft, have established an “Oxygen Solidarity Bridge” with India since April 29.
“The Indian Navy has established two logistics lines, one with the Gulf countries, other with South East Asian countries led by Singapore. The planned pick of medical oxygen from Gulf countries is highly dynamic and numbers can change. But the fact remains is that India’s Gulf Allies are standing with it in times of medical distress,” said an Admiral.
In fact, the Indian Navy and Indian Air Force are working in a “jugalbandi” mode with the former ferrying filled 20 MT liquid medical oxygen containers from Gulf region and the latter facilitating the return of empty containers for refilling and consequent refilling again.
“All the strategic lift ships that is LST and Landing Transport Docks have been deployed for lifting critical medical supplies. In fact, all the six ships deployed in the Gulf and Arabian Sea for Exercise Varuna with the French Navy were diverted to Bahrain, Qatar and Kuwait. INS Shardul was dispatched from Kochi to the Gulf region. As of now, 260 MTs of LMO and 2000 filled oxygen cylinders have been delivered to Indian shores from warships deployed in the western Indian Ocean region. For example:
• INS Talwar picked up 40 MT of LMO from Manana, Bahrain on May 1.
• INS Trikhand and INS Tarkash picked up 80 MT of LMO from Doha, Qatar on May 6 and 8 respectively. These supplies were facilitated by Air Liquide, France using their oxygen plant in Qatar.
• INS Kochi and INS Tabar picked up 140 MT of LMO and 1400 oxygen cylinders from Kuwait on May 6.
• INS Kolkata picked 200 oxygen cylinders from Doha on May 4 and 40 MT of LMO from Doha on May 5.
Majority supplies of LMO secured from either West Asia or South East Asia are to decimate the Covid-19 infection in South, East and Western India as the positivity rate is expected to go up in the coming days.