WASHINGTON: External affairs minister S Jaishankar and US secretary of state Mike Pompeo spoke over phone to discuss a coordinated effort by India and the US to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic that has so far infected more than 850,000 people and claimed over 42,000 lives globally.
Jaishankar spoke to Pompeo over phone on Tuesday. This is the second call between the two leaders in recent weeks after the coronavirus outbreak.
Earlier on March 14, the two top diplomats discussed ways in which India and the US could cooperate to address this global challenge.
The issue also figured in the talks between Prime Minister Narendra Modi and US President Donald Trump during the latter’s trip to India in February.
“Our close cooperation is imperative to combat the coronavirus, including strengthening global pharmaceutical and health care manufacturing and supply chains,” Pompeo said in a tweet after the phone call between the two leaders.
The number of those infected by the deadly disease surged to 164,000 and fatalities crossed 3,100 in the US.
In India, there are over 1,400 infections and at least 45 deaths due to the disease.
According Johns Hopkins Coronavirus Resource Centre, over 850,000 people globally have contracted the disease, while over 42,000 people have died of it.
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According to State Department spokesperson Morgan Ortagus, the secretary of state highlighted the importance of continued close cooperation between the US, India and other close partners and allies to combat this international crisis.
“He also reiterated the US’ unwavering commitment to work with India to advance peace, prosperity and security in the Indo-Pacific and around the globe,” the spokesperson said in a readout of the call.
Meanwhile, Trump on Tuesday said that the next 30 days are very vital for America in the fight against the coronavirus pandemic as he extended the “social distancing” guidelines until April 30.