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Biden speaks with Prime Minister Modi as COVID-19 surges in India

Biden speaks with Prime Minister Modi as COVID-19 surges in India
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President BidenJoe BidenSchumer vows to advance two-pronged infrastructure plan next month Biden appoints veteran housing, banking regulator as acting FHFA chief Iran claims U.S. to lift all oil sanctions but State Department says 'nothing is agreed' MORE on Monday spoke with Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi and pledged to provide assistance as the world's second most populous country grapples with soaring coronavirus infections.

"The two leaders resolved that the United States and India will continue to stand shoulder-to-shoulder in the effort to protect our citizens and the health of our communities," the White House said in a readout of the call.

The United States is sending India aid to help with depleted oxygen supplies, vaccine materials and therapeutics in an effort to help stem the surge in cases that has strained India's health care system.

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Emily Horne, a spokeswoman for the National Security Council, said in a statement Sunday that the U.S. was "working around the clock to deploy available resources and supplies." The Biden administration has identified test kits, ventilators and other supplies that would be made available to India, she said.

"Just as India sent assistance to the United States as our hospitals were strained early in the pandemic, the United States is determined to help India in its time of need," Horne said.

Communications between U.S. and Indian officials come as India faces a mounting crisis of coronavirus cases.

India on Sunday reported roughly 350,000 new cases, setting a single-day record for any country during the COVID-19 pandemic. The New York Times reported that India has vaccinated just under 2 percent of its population, even though the country is producing two shots domestically.

The surge in cases threatens progress around the globe in the fight against the pandemic.

The Biden administration on Monday also announced it is preparing to share millions of doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine with other countries in the latest sign the U.S. is ramping up its vaccine diplomacy efforts to get the virus under control globally.