Jaishankar emphasises importance of China’s transport corridors in India’s Covid-19 response | Latest News India - Hindustan Times
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Jaishankar emphasises importance of China’s transport corridors in India’s Covid-19 response

Apr 30, 2021 10:44 PM IST

External affairs minister S Jaishankar on Friday emphasised to his Chinese counterpart Wang Yi the importance of China’s transport corridors and cargo flights remaining open to facilitate the movement of materials needed for India’s Covid-19 response

External affairs minister S Jaishankar on Friday emphasised to his Chinese counterpart Wang Yi the importance of China’s transport corridors and cargo flights remaining open to facilitate the movement of materials needed for India’s Covid-19 response.

File photo: External Affairs Minister Subrahmanyam Jaishankar. (via REUTERS)
File photo: External Affairs Minister Subrahmanyam Jaishankar. (via REUTERS)

During a phone conversation organised at the request of the Chinese side, Jaishankar also told Wang that the process of disengagement of Indian and Chinese forces along the Line of Actual Control (LAC) remained “unfinished” and should be “completed at the earliest”.

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The Indian side is yet to take a call on China’s offer of support to fight a devastating second wave of Covid-19 infections that has surged well past the 350,000-mark for the past several days. The Chinese leadership has said it will facilitate clearances and logistics for shipping equipment and other supplies to India, though the recent suspension of services by Sichuan Airlines raised a question mark about the movement of cargo from China.

While speaking to Wang, Jaishankar said Indian entities were commercially procuring products and raw materials required for the Covid-19 response from suppliers in China. Jaishankar said “this process would be facilitated if various transport corridors and cargo flights remained open and the necessary logistics support [was] ensured expeditiously,” according to a statement from the external affairs ministry.

Jaishankar also said challenges, such as the pandemic, require “serious international cooperation”.

Wang described Covid-19 as a common enemy and agreed on the need for coordination on a concerted response. He said China supports India’s efforts and will ensure that all the required materials “flow to Indian entities without any delay”. Chinese companies will be supported to deliver the materials, and airports, customs and airlines will be instructed to smoothly facilitate the movement of goods, he said.

Chartered flights from India will be welcome and specific problems raised by the Indian side will be sorted out quickly. Wang also offered any other assistance required from the Chinese government.

Jaishankar and Wang discussed “outstanding issues related to disengagement from all friction points” along the LAC in eastern Ladakh.

“External affairs minister conveyed that while the process of disengagement had commenced earlier this year, it remained unfinished. He emphasised that this process needed to be completed at the earliest. Full restoration of peace and tranquillity in the border areas would enable progress in the bilateral relationship,” the statement said.

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

Indian and Chinese troops have been engaged in a standoff on the LAC for almost a year. Though both sides pulled back troops and armoured formations from the north and south banks of Pangong Lake in February, the disengagement process stalled after that and there has been no headway in recent talks.

Jaishankar and Wang also had a brief discussion on the meetings of foreign ministers of the Brazil-Russia-India-China-South Africa (Brics) and Russia-India-China (RIC) groupings, which are scheduled to be held in the near future under the Indian chair. Wang confirmed his participation at these events.

The call was arranged at the request of the Chinese side to convey solidarity with India, hours after Chinese President Xi Jinping sent a message of sympathy to Prime Minister Narendra Modi. Xi said he was “very concerned” about the Covid-19 situation in India and that the Chinese side was ready to strengthen cooperation with India in fighting the pandemic and providing help.

Jaishankar thanked Wang for his sentiments and informed him of India’s efforts to meet the challenge posed by the second wave of the pandemic.

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