India is providing the Himalayan country all necessary assistance to fight poverty and COVID-19 challenges

India is committed to developing friendly and mutually beneficial ties with neighbours and that its engagement with countries like Nepal, Bhutan, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Maldives, Myanmar and Afghanistan are “based on consultative, non-reciprocal and outcome oriented approach,” Ministry of External Affairs spokesperson Anurag Srivastava said in a weekly media briefing on Thursday.

A day after such an announcement, India offered Nepal 41 ambulances and 6 school buses to government and non-profit organizations in 30 districts of the Himalayan country on the occasion of 151th Gandhi Jayanti on Friday.

"The Government of India gifts 41 ambulances and 6 school buses to government and not-for-profit organizations in 30 districts of Nepal," Indian embassy said in a tweet.

Since 1994, India has provided nearly 823 ambulances to Nepal and of the total 41 ambulances offered to the Himalayan country on the Gandhi Jayanti day, they are all quality patients’ transportation systems, broadly falling in Advance Life Support, Basic Life Support and Common Life Support categories.

These ambulances, according to information provided by Kathmandu-based Indian embassy, have been built as per the guidelines of the Government of Nepal.

Giving details about these ambulances, Indian embassy maintained that the Advance Life Support category ambulances include equipment such as travelling ventilator, ECG and Oxygen monitor, automated external defibrillator, nebulizer set, BP apparatus, stethoscope, Ambulance bag, various tubes and catheters, wheelchair and stretcher, radio communication equipment and 4G mobile device and others.

The Basic Life Support ambulances have all these items, except for travelling ventilators, while the Common Life Support ambulances are 4 Wheel Drive vehicles and best suited for hilly and mountainous terrains.

Reflecting India’s increased engagement with Nepal, India has already proposed an air bubble scheme with the Himalayan country.

“Air bubbles have also been proposed with our neighbors Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, Afghanistan, Nepal & Bhutan. Going forward, we will consider such arrangements with other countries also. It is always our endeavor to reach out to every stranded citizen,” Hardeep Singh Puri, Union Minister of State for Civil Aviation (Independent Charge) said in his tweet a few days back.

India has time and again assisted Nepal in its infrastructure development programme. Last month, India handed over two modern trains to Nepal that would run between Jaynagar in Bihar and Kurtha in Dhanusa district from mid-December, marking the beginning of the first broad-gauge railway service in the Himalayan nation.

The train operations from Kurtha to Jaynagar, covering a distance of 35-km, will benefit citizens of both the countries.

Furthermore, after the April 2015 Nepal earthquake, India committed grant assistance of USD 1 billion for reconstructing Nepal. Steady progress has been noted in India’s commitment to Nepal.

Over 46,000 out of 50,000 houses, built with India’s assistance, have been completed and they are to be provided to people in Nuwakot and Gorkha districts of Nepal.

Besides, 70 schools, 1 library, 147 health facilities, and 28 cultural heritage sector projects are under implementation for reconstruction/retrofitting in the education, health, and cultural sectors.

Under the Indian Technical and Economic Cooperation (ITEC) programme, India has already trained Nepalese health professionals and frontline workers in the best practices in Covid-19 through 11 e-ITEC courses.

Recently, India handed over 2,000 vials of Remdesivir medicines to Nepal supporting its fight against Covid-19 by providing ICUs, testing kits and medicines.