Updated: May 1, 2021 8:07:03 am
EXTERNAL AFFAIRS Minister S Jaishankar on Friday spoke to US Secretary of State Antony Blinken and Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi and discussed cooperation in emergency medical supplies with both of them. Chinese President Xi Jinping has also written to Prime Minister Narendra Modi and has offered help and support.
Jaishankar’s call with Blinken came on a day when US aircraft brought 440 oxygen cylinders with regulators, 210 pulse oximeters, 8.84 lakh Abbott Rapid Diagnostic Test Kits, and 84,000 N-95 face masks. This is the first consignment from the US.
Expressing his appreciation for Indian assistance in America’s time of need, Blinken reviewed comprehensive ongoing US government efforts in support of the Indian government’s Covid-19 response operations. He also noted the outpouring of support from US industries, non-governmental institutions, and private citizens for relief efforts in India, US State Department spokesperson Ned Price said.
Chinese President Xi, in his letter to PM Modi, said, “The Chinese side stands ready to strengthen cooperation with the Indian side in fighting the pandemic and provide support and help in this regard. I believe that under the leadership of the Indian Government, the Indian people will surely prevail over the pandemic.”
The Chinese Foreign Minister called up Jaishankar to convey Beijing’s “sympathy and solidarity” with India at this juncture, a MEA statement said.
Jaishankar highlighted in this regard that Indian entities were already in the process of commercially procuring required products and raw materials from suppliers in China.
“The minister said this process would be facilitated if various transport corridors and cargo flights remained open and the necessary logistics support ensured expeditiously. He emphasised that serious challenges such as the Covid-19 pandemic, which had affected all countries, required serious international cooperation,” the MEA said.
Wang described the Covid-19 as a “common enemy of mankind” and agreed that there was a need for coordination on a concerted response.
“He said that China supported the efforts of Government of India and would ensure that all the required materials flow to Indian entities without any delay. Chinese companies would be encouraged and supported to deliver requisite materials. Airports, customs and airlines would also be instructed to smoothly facilitate movement of goods. Chartered flights from India would be welcome and specific problems raised by the Indian side sorted out quickly. Foreign Minister Wang Yi offered any other appropriate assistance required from the Chinese Government,” the statement said.
Jaishankar thanked the Chinese Foreign Minister for his sentiments and apprised him of the ongoing efforts to meet the challenge posed by the second wave of Covid-19 pandemic in India. He said that the government was fully determined to do whatever was necessary to overcome this challenge.
The MEA statement said that the two Ministers also discussed the outstanding issues related to disengagement from all friction points along the Line of Actual Control in Eastern Ladakh. Jaishankar conveyed that while the process of disengagement had commenced earlier this year, it remained unfinished. He emphasized that it was necessary that this process be completed at the earliest.
“Full restoration of peace and tranquility in the border areas would enable progress in the bilateral relationship. The two Ministers agreed to continue further dialogue at the official level on this matter,” the MEA statement said.
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. Foreign Minister Wang Yi confirmed his participation at these events, MEA said.
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