India’s External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar and America’s Secretary of State Mike Pompeo spoke over phone on Tuesday, 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.
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 189,618 in United States with over 4,000 deaths on Wednesday. The country reported highest number of deaths in a single day with over 700 casualties.

In India, there are over 1,400 infections and at least 45 deaths due to the disease. According to Johns Hopkins Coronavirus Resource Centre, over 850,000 people globally have contracted the disease, while over 42,000 people have died of it.

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.

US President Donald Trump warned America to brace for a “very, very painful two weeks” on Tuesday as the White House projected that the coronavirus pandemic could claim 100,000 to 240,000 lives, even if current social distancing guidelines are maintained.