India is dispatching packages of medicines to more than 25 countries in Africa in keeping with its traditionally strong bonds of friendship and solidarity with the continent, the External Affairs Ministry said today.

Each package of medicines includes hydroxychloroquine, paracetamol and other drugs which are immediately required to fight the pandemic. These medicines are expected to complement the national efforts of various countries in Africa to combat the pandemic.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi had a telephonic conversation last month with South African President Ramaphosa, who is also the current chairperson of the African Union. Modi conveyed to him India’s full support for the joint African effort against the virus.

The Indian leader also has held telephonic conversations with other African leaders, including President Yoweri Kaguta Museveni of Uganda and Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed of Ethiopia.

External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar had also spoken to his counterparts in several African countries to reiterate India’s solidarity with African people in the fight against COVID-19 and offered them all assistance.

India has also decided to extend to healthcare workers from Africa the e-ITEC course on “COVID-19 Pandemic: Prevention and Management Guidelines for healthcare professional”, organised by the External Affairs Ministry along with its partner AIIMS Raipur.

In the neighbourhood, meanwhile, an Indian Air Force IL-76 cargo aircraft that ferried a consignment of medicines to Sri Lanka also flew in India’s new High Commissioner-designate Gopal Baglay to Colombo.

“A special flight brought the medicines to Lanka along with High Commissioner-Designate Gopal Baglay. He will observe stipulated health protocol,” said a Twitter post from the official handle of the Indian High Commission.

The closure of borders and air space by countries across the world that resulted in the grounding of flights, including between India and Sri Lanka, had meant that Baglay could not take up his post as the new High Commissioner, despite him being named to the post in February.