Second Minister for Foreign Affairs Maliki Osman taking a closer look at the oxygen tanks onboard a C-130 transport aircraft at Paya Lebar airbase on April 28, 2021

SINGAPORE - Singapore has sent two planeloads of oxygen cylinders to help India address its unprecedented oxygen crisis arising from a second wave of Covid-19 infections.

The Republic of Singapore Air Force will transport the cylinders on board two C-130 aircraft from Singapore to West Bengal in India.

Second Minister for Foreign Affairs Maliki Osman on Wednesday (April 28) reaffirmed both countries' strong bilateral relations and highlighted that Singaporeans stand in solidarity with India in its fight against the pandemic.

"This is made possible because of the existing close relationship between our two peoples, governments and countries," he said.

Dr Maliki, who is also Minister in the Prime Minister's Office, spoke during the handover of Singapore's humanitarian assistance to India's High Commissioner to Singapore P Kumaran on Wednesday at Paya Lebar Air Base.

This initiative, arranged at short notice, is testament to the close collaboration and partnership across multiple agencies on both sides, said the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in a statement on Wednesday.

Sending oxygen cylinders to India is part of Singapore's many relief efforts and contributions to bring humanitarian relief to India.

India's Covid-19 numbers hit another record on Monday for the fifth day in a row. The country on Sunday saw its highest number of daily cases, at 352,991.

India, which has a population of 1.3 billion, has recorded more than 17.6 million Covid-19 infections and over 197,000 deaths. Health experts say the death toll is probably far higher.

Medical equipment, including oxygen-related supplies, was sent from Singapore to India on Sunday.

Last Saturday, the Indian Air Force airlifted four cryogenic tanks from Changi Airport. The tanks will be used to transport oxygen in India. Reiterating that Covid-19 is a transboundary threat, Dr Maliki said: "It (the pandemic) gives no regard for country, nationality or race. This is exactly why we must work collectively to support each other."

Dr Maliki also thanked the government of India for continuing to work with Singapore throughout the pandemic, and keeping supply chains open and essential goods flowing. He also wished India success in its fight against the pandemic.

"I have no doubt that the fighting spirit of the Indian people will prevail. We have witnessed India's immense capabilities in mobilising her people and resources when challenges arise.

"While our contribution is modest, we hope that it will bring comfort and relief to those in need and encourage those on the front line in India, who are working tirelessly, to fight on," added Dr Maliki.

He said he hopes that supporting India with oxygen supplies will add momentum to the work undertaken by Singaporeans, private entities and civil society organisations, including the Singapore Red Cross, to contribute to India's efforts against Covid-19.

On Monday, the Singapore Indian Chamber of Commerce and Industry and the Little India Shopkeepers Association set up a relief fund to raise money and support India in its battle against the second wave of Covid-19 infections. All proceeds will go to the Singapore Red Cross.