China assures India of smooth medical supplies without delay

6

New Delhi: China on Friday assured India that it would do everything to support the latter’s fight against the second wave of COVID-19 pandemic which has taken a heavy toll on the country.

An official statement issued by the Ministry of External Affairs said that External Affairs Minister S. Jaishankar had a phone conversation on Friday evening with the State Councilor and Foreign Minister of China, Wang Yi. 

“The call was arranged at the request of the Chinese side to convey their sympathy and solidarity with India at this juncture,” the statement said.

After thanking Wang Yi for his sentiments, Jaishankar emphasised that serious challenges such as the COVID-19 pandemic, which has affected all the countries, require serious international cooperation.

Indian entities are already in the process of commercially procuring required products and raw materials from suppliers in China. The minister said that this process would be facilitated if various transport corridors and cargo flights remain open and the necessary logistics support is ensured expeditiously.

China had suspended its state-run cargo flights for medical supplies to India as COVID-19 cases surged in the country.

Jaishankar apprised Wang Yi of the ongoing efforts to meet the challenge posed by the second wave of the pandemic in India. He said that the government is fully determined to do whatever is necessary to overcome this challenge.

Wang Yi described COVID-19 “as a common enemy of mankind” and agreed that there was a need for “coordination on a concerted response”.

The ministry statement said Wang Yi told Jaishankar that China supports the efforts of the government of India and would ensure that all the required materials are flown to Indian entities without any delay.

Chinese companies would be encouraged and supported to deliver the requisite materials. Airports, customs and airlines would also be instructed to smoothly facilitate the movement of goods. Chartered flights from India would be welcome and specific problems raised by the Indian side will be sorted out quickly. Wang Yi also offered any other appropriate assistance required from the Chinese government.

The two ministers also discussed the outstanding issues related to disengagement from all friction points along the Line of Actual Control (LAC) in Eastern Ladakh, the statement said.

Jaishankar conveyed that while the process of disengagement had commenced earlier this year, it remained unfinished. 

He emphasised that it is necessary that this process is completed at the earliest. Full restoration of peace and tranquility in the border areas would enable progress in the bilateral relationship, he said.

The two ministers agreed to continue further dialogue at the official level on this matter.

The telephone call concluded with a brief discussion on the BRICS and RIC meetings of foreign ministers, which are scheduled to take place in the near future under the Indian Chair. Wang Yi has confirmed his participation at these events, the statement said.