Vivian Balakrishnan: S’pore will continue to work with India amid ‘difficult times’ & extend help

India has been experiencing an overwhelming second wave of Covid-19, with as many as 400,000 new cases reported daily.

Julia Yeo | May 11, 2021, 03:48 PM

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Singapore will play a part in alleviating the critical pandemic situation in India, said Minister for Foreign Affairs Vivian Balakrishnan in Parliament on May 10 (Monday).

Virus does not discriminate across race, religion, or borders: Vivian

"The virus does not discriminate across language, race, religion, or national borders; it is therefore in our collective interest to help one another because no one is safe until everyone is safe," said Vivian on Monday, in response to a question by Member of Parliament Ang Wei Neng.

Ang had asked the minister for an update on the assistance that Singapore has provided to India, in view of the worsening pandemic situation in the country.

India has been experiencing an overwhelming second wave of Covid-19 cases recently, with as many as 400,000 new cases and thousands of deaths reported daily.

The situation was exacerbated by an emergence of new variants of the Covid-19 virus, which appeared to be more transmissible.

The foreign affairs minister said that India is "a close friend and partner of Singapore", adding that many Singaporeans have families and friends there.

Singapore among first countries to send oxygen cylinders to India

Vivian mentioned that he has been in contact with India's External Affairs Minister, and noted that the Singapore government sent a consignment of 256 oxygen cylinders to West Bengal, India on Apr. 28.

"Our modest assistance was aimed at supporting this critical and urgent area of need and we hope that it provided some relief to those battling the pandemic on the frontlines," he added.

The minister also noted that Singapore was amongst the first countries to send oxygen cylinders to India.

Besides the Singapore government, other local entities such as Temasek Foundation and Singapore Airlines have also contributed efforts to help India fight the second wave of the pandemic.

The Singapore Red Cross has also launched a fundraiser for the cause, coordinating contributions from the private and public sectors, Vivian mentioned.

"We will continue to work with our Indian friends during this difficult time and explore various avenues to help in areas that we can," he said.

Top image via CNA Video