Indian Naval Ship Airavat reached at the Port of Jakarta on Friday, carrying essential COVID-19 relief supplies for Indonesia which is reeling from a ferocious coronavirus wave that has overwhelmed its healthcare system.
The ship has brought five cryogenic containers containing 100 MT of liquid oxygen and 300 concentrators as Indonesia faces an acute shortage of oxygen to save Covid-19 patients. The death toll in the country due to Covid-19 is three times the world average.
INS Airavat is a large tank ship with a primary role to carry out amphibious operations and is capable of carrying multiple tanks, amphibious vehicles and other military cargo. The ship has been a part of various relief efforts across the Indian Ocean Region.
India was using these ships to import oxygen during the peak of the second wave that hit the country in April and May. But with the situation having eased on the domestic front it has decided to lend a helping hand to neighbouring countries in accordance with its Neighbours First policy.
Indonesia has seen more than 3 million coronavirus infections and 80,598 deaths according to official data. The spread, driven by the Delta variant, has shown no sign of slowing.
The crisis has worsened in the country as the China-made vaccine that was the mainstay of its inoculation programme has failed to work against Covid-19, especially the dominant delta variant that is raging through the country. Several doctors, who were fully vaccinated, have also died due to coronavirus, exacerbating the crisis.
The Indonesian island of Bali is running out of oxygen for its COVID-19 patients as infections surge, the chief of its health agency said, as Southeast Asia's biggest country struggles with the region's worst COVID epidemic, according to a Reuters report from Jakarta.
Bali, famous for its tourist beaches and temples, along with the main island of Java and 15 other regions are under tight coronavirus restrictions, due to expire on Sunday.
The debate over coronavirus restrictions has pitted health experts, who say it is premature to ease curbs during the surge of infections, against employer groups that have warned of mass layoffs unless the curbs are relaxed.
India and Indonesia enjoy close cultural and commercial ties. Both countries have been working together in the maritime domain towards a safer Indo-Pacific. The navies regularly carry out joint naval exercises in the form of bilateral exercises and coordinated patrols.