US Air Force flights that were scheduled to leave for India with essential life-saving supplies have been delayed till Wednesday due to maintenance issues, the Pentagon said on Monday."We just received word from USTRANSCOM that the flights for India are "delayed until at least Wednesday due to maintenance issues", a Pentagon spokesperson said.
So far, only two US Air Force flights have landed in India.
Three US Air Force C-5 Super Galaxies and one C-17 Globemaster were scheduled to leave for India Monday to deliver critical supplies amid a surge in coronavirus cases.
Officials, however, did not say how this would impact the emergency aid supplies to India, in particular life-saving oxygen cylinders and concentrators.
Earlier in the day, Pentagon Press Secretary John Kirby told reporters that the US will continue to fly its planes with health care supplies for India, which has faced one of the worst outbreaks of COVID-19 in the world. Three US Air Force C-5 Super Galaxies and one C-17 Globemaster are continuing to deliver critical healthcare supplies to India, which is experiencing one of the worst outbreaks of COVID-19, the Pentagon said.
"We continue to assist the government and the people of India as they continue to struggle with their COVID outbreak," Kirby said.
US Transportation Command and its components continue to demonstrate their capability to provide immediate assistance to a partner nation, he said.
The United States will continue to assess the situation, he said.
"We'll stay in touch with our counterparts in India, should there be a need for additional help. The (defense) secretary was very clear in speaking to his counterpart in India that we'll continue to do whatever we can to help," Kirby said.
Meanwhile, Senator Amy Klobuchar said the tragic crisis in India is a reminder that "we can only beat COVID-19 if we beat it everywhere".
The United States, she said, "is stepping up and providing relief and aid to our ally in this time of tremendous and heart-breaking need".
Congressman Alan Lowenthal said the Biden Administration has taken early positive steps but the scale of the tragedy in India is simply unbearable.
"We must do more to facilitate access to vaccines. We must save lives and reduce the risk of terrifying new variants," he said.
"The COVID crisis in India is heartbreaking and could have huge implications for the rest of the world. The fight against this pandemic is a global one and we must do our part to help combat this surge and save lives," Congresswoman Jennifer Wexton said in a tweet.
"India is in crisis. President Biden's decision to send supplies and vaccine doses to India is a necessary one. But we must also eliminate vaccine patents - and work to expand vaccine production and availability globally. We must work to save lives everywhere," Congresswoman Cori Bush tweeted.