From Chinese President Xi Jinping to Foreign Minister Wang Yi to the Chinese ambassador to India Sun Weidong — China has expressed what is being termed as the “biggest goodwill” to its Covid-ravaged neighbor.
The move assumes significance given the two nations are yet to find a solution to their protracted border impasse.
On April 30, Chinese President Xi Jinping sent a message of condolences to Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi over the pandemic. Xi also expressed China’s willingness to enhance cooperation with India in the fight against COVID-19 and provide help to the country.
Xi said that he is concerned about India’s COVID-19 situation; and he sends condolences to the Indian government and people, in the name of the Chinese government, people and himself, according to the Chinese media.
Chinese experts said Beijing has “fired the biggest goodwill” to New Delhi. Qian Feng, the director of the research department at the National Strategy Institute at Tsinghua University told Global Times that the Covid “cooperation can transcend border disputes between the two countries and hopefully China-India ties that have been frozen since last year will eventually improve”.
China has also escalated the production and delivery of 40,000 more oxygen generators ordered by India, according to Chinese Ambassador to India Sun Weidong.
In an exclusive interview with state-owned Global Times, Sun said that the Chinese companies will soon deliver necessary medical supplies to India and that Beijing will continue to encourage and support Chinese companies accelerating the production of medical supplies and facilitating customs clearance and transport for India purchasing the supplies.
Highlighted the importance of supply chains and air flights being kept open in these circumstances. Welcomed his assurances in that regard, as also more openness to Indian chartered flights.
— Dr. S. Jaishankar (@DrSJaishankar) April 30, 2021
He said Bejing will also encourage public health experts of the two countries to communicate on sharing anti-epidemic experiences.
Sun said China will continue providing all the available support to India for “saving lives, underscoring the responsibility and good manner as a major power”.
In a series of tweets on April 30, India’s External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar said, “Received a call from State Councilor & FM Wang Yi conveying China’s sympathies at the COVID challenge now faced by India. Discussed the international cooperation aspects of the public health response to this difficult situation.”
During the discussion, India “highlighted the importance of supply chains and air flights being kept open in these circumstances”. “Welcomed his assurances in that regard, as also more openness to Indian chartered flights,” Jaishankar tweeted.
Despite a long-pending territorial dispute and a protracted military standoff, China was one of the first countries to provide Covid-related assistance, but New Delhi had been reluctant to accept China’s help, probably due to last year’s border skirmishes between their militaries in Galwan Valley in eastern Ladakh. India had lost 20 of its soldiers in a violent clash with the Chinese PLA.
In the wake of this incident, New Delhi had banned Chinese mobile apps and put curbs on Chinese investment in the countries.
But China has reiterated its offer of support to India as the country is battling an unprecedented surge in the pandemic, with the number of cases and deaths seeing a sudden spike in the past few weeks.
On April 30, Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs Spokesperson Wang Wenbin said that the Chinese society, regional governments, private organizations, and companies, have been mobilized to send anti-pandemic materials to India.
“We will continue providing all the available support to India for saving lives, underscoring the responsibility and good manner as a major power”, Chinese ambassador to India Sun said.
Citing the statistics of the General Administration of Customs of China in his tweet on Thursday, he mentioned, “Since this April, China has supplied more than 5,000 ventilators, 21,569 oxygen generators, over 21 million masks and around 3,800 tons of medicine to India.”
As of May 1, 2021, the active COVID-19 cases in India stood at 3.3 million and 211,853 deaths, according to the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare.