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US sends medical supplies to India to help in COVID-19 fight

Airmen from the 22nd Airlift Squadron prepare a C-5M Super Galaxy to take lifesaving COVID-19 supplies to India, April 28, 2021, at Travis Air Force Base, Calif. The United States government, through the U.S. Agency for International Development, donated medical supplies to assist the country of India in its ongoing fight against COVID-19. The aid includes 440 oxygen cylinders and regulators, 1 million N95 masks and 1 million COVID-19 rapid diagnostic kits. (U.S. Air Force photo by Nicholas Pilch)

Airmen from the 22nd Airlift Squadron prepare a C-5M Super Galaxy to take lifesaving COVID-19 supplies to India, April 28, 2021, at Travis Air Force Base, Calif. The United States government, through the U.S. Agency for International Development, donated medical supplies to assist the country of India in its ongoing fight against COVID-19. The aid includes 440 oxygen cylinders and regulators, 1 million N95 masks and 1 million COVID-19 rapid diagnostic kits. (U.S. Air Force photo by Nicholas Pilch)

A sign is being placed on a pallet and the sign says "USAID, from the American people."

Airman 1st Class Sarah Cramer, 60th Aerial Port Squadron passenger services technician, secures a U.S. Agency for International Development sign to a pallet holding lifesaving oxygen equipment April 28, 2021, in the APS Warehouse at Travis Air Force Base, California. The United States government, through the USAID, donated medical supplies to assist the country of India in its ongoing fight against COVID-19. The donation of 440 oxygen cylinders and regulators, one million N95 masks and one million COVID-19 rapid diagnostic kits, will be transported to India aboard a U.S. Air Force C-5M Super Galaxy. (U.S. Air Force photo by Nicholas Pilch)

Oxygen tanks and other COVID-19 supplies sit in a C-5M Super Galaxy at Travis Air Force Base, Calif., April 28, 2021. The United States government, through the U.S. Agency for International Development, donated medical supplies to assist the country of India in its ongoing fight against COVID-19. The aid includes 440 oxygen cylinders and regulators, 1 million N95 masks and 1 million COVID-19 rapid diagnostic kits. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Jonathon Carnell)

Oxygen tanks and other COVID-19 supplies sit in a C-5M Super Galaxy at Travis Air Force Base, Calif., April 28, 2021. The United States government, through the U.S. Agency for International Development, donated medical supplies to assist the country of India in its ongoing fight against COVID-19. The aid includes 440 oxygen cylinders and regulators, 1 million N95 masks and 1 million COVID-19 rapid diagnostic kits. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Jonathon Carnell)

TRAVIS AIR FORCE BASE, Calif. (AFNS) --

A lot of progress has been made against COVID-19, but it's still a pandemic. As part of a whole-of-government effort to slow and eventually end the pandemic, the United States sent medical supplies and equipment to India April 28 as that country battles the most recent outbreak.

A C-5M Super Galaxy and C-17 Globemaster III loaded with oxygen cylinders and regulators, N95 masks and COVID-19 rapid diagnostic kits left Travis Air Force Base bound for India. The shipment is just the first. In all, the United States expects to deliver more than $100 million in medical supplies to the U.S. partner nation.

The medical supplies were donated to India by the U.S. government though the U.S. Agency for International Development. Airmen with the 60th Air Mobility Wing are responsible for delivering those supplies.

In the coming week, more oxygen cylinders will be sent, as will oxygen concentrators, oxygen generation units, additional personnel protective equipment, rapid diagnostic tests and therapeutics. The U.S. is also providing vaccine manufacturing supplies. In fact, the U.S. has redirected its own order of AstraZeneca manufacturing supplies to India, which will enable the country to make more than 20 million doses of the COVID-19 vaccine.

India is a major defense partner to the U.S. and providing assistance is just something partners do, said John F. Kirby, Pentagon press secretary, during a press briefing earlier this week.

"The United States deeply values our partnership with India," Kirby said. "We are determined to help the people in India as they bravely combat this outbreak."

During a visit to India last month, Secretary of Defense Lloyd J. Austin III said India is a major partner in the effort to keep a free and open Indo-Pacific region.

"As the world faces a pandemic and growing challenges to an open and stable international system, the U.S.-India relationship is a stronghold of a free and open Indo-Pacific region," Austin said. "And it's clear that the importance of this partnership, and its impact (on) the international, rules-based order will only grow in the years ahead."