US President Donald Trump had announced the donation of 200 ventilators for India

During a briefing over telephone, the American officials made it clear the ventilators are being provided purely as a donation.

The first tranche of 50 ventilators out of 200 ventilators being donated by the US administration to India is expected to arrive soon to bolster the country’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic, American officials said on Tuesday.

“This is a donation. The US government plans to donate 200 ventilators to India, and we expect the first tranche of 50 to arrive soon,” said Ramona El Hamzaoui, acting director of the US Agency for International Development (USAID).

“USAID, on behalf of the US and through the generosity of the American people…is providing access to medical supplies and ventilators to India and other countries,” El Hamzaoui said.

She said USAID is working closely with India’s health ministry and the Indian Red Cross Society and other stakeholders in both countries to assist in the delivery, transportation and placement of the donated ventilators.

The equipment will complement India’s efforts to “make the best of care urgently available to those most in need without impacting the availability of these supplies to the American people”, she added.

The American officials were unable to state what authorities in the US had meant when they said the ventilators would be “repurposed”.

El Hamzaoui said the US government, private companies, and non-profit and academic organisations have shared their expertise with partner countries such as India on the production of ventilators and other equipment.

“Some have open source intellectual property and we fully appreciate the urgency and recognise the global constraints,” she added.

People familiar with developments in New Delhi said Trump himself had made it clear that the ventilators are a donation. The firms providing the equipment will be paid by USAID, they said on condition of anonymity.

“As of now, the plan is to deliver 100 ventilators in May and the remainder in June. USAID will give us the final schedule next week,” said one of the people cited above.