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Thursday, May 28, 2020

Jaishankar makes flurry of calls to counterparts over COVID-19 pandemic

With US Secretary of State Michael R Pompeo, Jaishankar said they discussed the importance of international cooperation in fighting the pandemic.

By: Express News Service | New Delhi | Updated: April 24, 2020 12:54:31 am
coronavirus, coronavirus latest updates, coronavirus SAARC, S Jaishankar, indian express Jaishankar discussed the forthcoming BRICS meet with Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov. (File)

External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar Thursday spoke to his counterparts from the US, Russia, Saudi Arabia, Oman and Brazil, discussing the COVID-19 pandemic and other matters.

With US Secretary of State Michael R Pompeo, he said they discussed the importance of international cooperation in fighting the pandemic.

“Nice to hear from @SecPompeo of #UnitedStates. Discussed our #coronavirus responses and the importance of international cooperation. Working closely on its implications and consequences. Also exchanged views on the Afghanistan situation,” Jaishankar tweeted.

Pompeo tweeted: “Spoke with Indian Minister of External Affairs @DrSJaishankar today on positive steps that the United States and #India are taking to contain and mitigate #COVID19.”

US State Department spokesperson Morgan Ortagus said: “Secretary Pompeo and minister Jaishankar discussed bilateral and international cooperation to contain and mitigate COVID-19, including ensuring the availability of pharmaceutical and medical supplies.”

The government said Thursday that “six SUV-sized high speed testing machines, which are in high demand, are being sourced from Roche in USA.” India has already sent the Hydroxychloroquine drug to the US. The phone conversation came hours after the US administration halted green cards, a move that will affect lakhs of Indians.

Jaishankar discussed the forthcoming BRICS meet with Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov. “Good to speak with FM Sergey Lavrov of #Russia. Discussed the forthcoming #BRICS Foreign Ministers Meeting. Also reviewed recent developments pertaining to Afghanistan. Our cooperation on #coronavirus reflects our special friendship,” he said.

He spoke to Saudi Foreign Minister Prince Faisal Bin Farhan Al Saud. “Appreciated the very warm conversation with HH Prince Faisal, FM of #SaudiArabia. Thanked him for taking care of the Indian community there. Discussed our shared interest in ensuring health and food security. India will remain a reliable partner,” he tweeted.

He also spoke to Oman’s Foreign Minister Yusuf Alawi, where there has been some controversy about Islamophobia in India. “Very pleased to speak with FM Yusuf Alawi. Appreciated #Oman’s taking care of the Indian community there. As trusted partners, assured him of India’s support in the collective fight against #coronavirus,” he said.

And he spoke to Brazil’s Foreign Minister Ernesto Araujo, a call that came in the wake of India supply of Hydroxychloroquine. “Productive conversation with FM @ernestofaraujo of #Brazil. Reviewed in detail the follow up of President @jairbolsonaro’s visit. Also exchanged notes on global issues, including the #coronavirus pandemic.”

The flurry of phone calls took place in the wake of India participating in a SAARC video conference of officials to deal with the pandemic.

Recalling India’s move on SAARC for a regional strategy, Delhi has appreciated Islamabad finally showing enthusiasm for regional calls on COVID-19. Pakistan on Thursday hosted a meet on COVID-19 pandemic in which the country had invited all the SAARC countries. India had participated in the meet.

“It is good to see that Pakistan has realized the merit of regional cooperation and joining the initiative,” a source said.

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