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New Delhi: France on Sunday delivered to India 28 tonnes of ready-to-use medical supplies including eight large oxygen plants as part of the first phase of its solidarity mission to the country which has been grappling with record coronavirus cases.

The French embassy said each of the eight plants can continuously supply oxygen to a 250-bed hospital round-the-clock for a dozen years and that they produce medical oxygen from ambient air.

“The oxygen plants will be delivered to 8 Indian hospitals, 6 in Delhi, one in Haryana and one in Telangana, based on needs as identified by the Indian authorities,” the French embassy said in a statement on Saturday.

A special cargo flight brought the supplies to Delhi from France.

French ambassador Emmanuel Lenain said more supplies will come soon from France and that both countries stand together in this fight against the pandemic.

The embassy said the medical supplies were worth more than Rs 17 crore.

“We stand by India in these difficult times, just as India has always stood by France. In Spring 2020, when French hospitals were facing acute shortages, India provided life-saving help through the export of critical medical drugs,” Lenain said.

“The French people have not forgotten. India has, in fact, been at the forefront of international cooperation against the pandemic, including through sharing its massive vaccine production capacity with the countries most in need,” he said.

The French supplies also comprised 28 ventilators and 200 electric syringe pumps to be distributed to several hospitals to enhance their ICU capacities.

Spokesperson in the Ministry of External Affairs Arindam Bagchi said the assistance by France is a testament to the strategic partnership between the two countries.

“A testament to India-France strategic partnership & friendship! 28 tonnes of medical equipment including 8 hospital-level oxygen generators and other medical supplies arrives from France. Deeply appreciate the support from France. Will bolster our oxygen capacities,” he tweeted.

Separately, Belgium also sent 9000 vials of Remdesivir to India on Sunday.

The US on Saturday night sent to India a third flight that brought over 1000 oxygen cylinders, regulators and other medical equipment.

Two American military aircraft on Friday brought to India large amounts of emergency medical supplies which included 423 oxygen cylinders with regulators, 210 pulse oximeters, 17 large oxygen cylinders, 8,84,000 Abbott rapid diagnostic test kits and 84,000 N-95 face masks.

As India battles a devastating second wave of coronavirus pandemic, several countries around the world are sending medical supplies to help it tide over the situation.

The leading countries that have announced assistance to India include the US, Russia, France, Germany, Australia, Ireland, Belgium, Romania, Luxembourg, Singapore, Portugal, Sweden, New Zealand, Kuwait and Mauritius.

Some of the countries have already delivered the supplies.

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