France Stands with India: Phase 1 of the French Covid-19 Solidarity Mission
At the request of President Emmanuel Macron, France is deploying a massive solidarity mission to support India, with the goal of not only providing immediate medical relief but also boosting India’s strategic autonomy in healthcare.
New Delhi, 1 May 2021
In the first phase of this mission, a special cargo flight will land in Delhi on early May 2 morning to deliver 28 tons of medical equipment worth more than 17 crore rupees.
This delivery includes 8 world-class, high capacity oxygen generator plants manufactured by the French company Novair. These plants produce medical oxygen from ambient air to supply a hospital’s oxygen system and/or fill cylinders with a flow rate of 20 000 litres per hour. Each plant can continuously supply a 250-bed Indian hospital non-stop for a dozen years. This translates into long-term oxygen autonomy, enhanced resilience to peaks in oxygen demand, savings of up to 15 crore rupees/year for the hospital, and eliminates safety issues related to liquid oxygen storage.
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.
In addition to the oxygen plants, this airfreight will also include 28 ventilators and 200 electric syringe pushers which will be distributed to several hospitals based on needs to enhance their ICU capacities.
This special cargo flight has been chartered free of charge by the French shipping and logistics group CMA CGM through its air cargo division. Alongside CMA CGM, many other French companies present in India have stepped up to pool their contributions and resources with the French government’s to carry out this exceptional solidarity mission. This support also falls within the framework of the EU Civil Protection Mechanism (UCPM).
On this occasion, the Ambassador of France to India, H.E. Mr Emmanuel Lenain, said:
“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 lifesaving help through the export of critical medical drugs. 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.
As President Emmanuel Macron said, solidarity is at the heart of the strategic partnership between France and India. A partnership between sovereign countries that have built an exceptional mutual trust and work together to enhance each other’s strategic autonomy. This is what we have been doing for years in the fields of defence, nuclear energy, space. We know now that healthcare is also a pillar of sovereignty. And that is the meaning of our contribution: each of these oxygen generator plants will make an Indian hospital fully oxygen aatmanirbhar for more than ten years. I believe healthcare can be a new field to develop our strategic partnership, building on our respective strengths. Together, we will prevail.”
This airfreight is the first phase of France’s solidarity mission. Thanks to the numerous contributions of French companies in India with the active involvement of the Indo-French Chamber of Commerce and Industry (IFCCI), a second delivery of oxygen generators and medical equipment is underway. Moreover, in the following days, French company Air Liquide will begin shipments of several hundred tons of oxygen through a dedicated logistical bridge organized by both governments and implemented with the Indian armed forces.