India discusses cooperation in medical supplies with China, US | The Daily Star
12:46 PM, May 01, 2021 / LAST MODIFIED: 12:50 PM, May 01, 2021

India discusses cooperation in medical supplies with China, US

India's External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar has discussed cooperation in emergency medical supplies with US Secretary of State Antony Blinken and Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi yesterday.

The discussion took place during separate phone conversations to tackle the devastating second wave of Covid-19 in the country, reports our New Delhi correspondent.

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Chinese President Xi Jinping has written a letter to Prime Minister Narendra Modi and has offered help and support.

Jaishankar's call with Blinken came on a day when two US military aircraft ferried 440 oxygen cylinders, 210 pulse oximeters, 8.84 lakh rapid diagnostic test kits and 84,000 N-95 face masks in what was 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 efforts.

Xi, in his letter to 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."

Terming Covid-19 as a "common enemy," the Chinese foreign minister called up Jaishankar to convey his country's "sympathy and solidarity" with India at this juncture, according to a statement issued by the Indian ministry of external affairs.

"China would ensure that all the required materials flow to Indian entities without any delay," Wang said.

During the conversation, Jaishankar highlighted that Indian entities were already in the process of commercially procuring required products and raw materials from suppliers in China, the statement said.

"This process would be facilitated if various transport corridors and cargo flights remained open and the necessary logistics support was ensured expeditiously," the Indian minister said.

"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," Wang was quoted as telling Jaishankar.

The two ministers also discussed the issues related to disengagement of troops and weapons from all friction points along the Line of Actual Control (LAC) in eastern Ladakh.

Jaishankar conveyed that while the process of disengagement had commenced earlier this year, it remained unfinished and emphasised 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," Jaishankar conveyed to Wang.

The militaries have been in a standoff in several parts of eastern Ladakh for a year now. There has been draw down of troops and armaments from Galwan Valley where the two armies had fought in June last year leaving 20 Indian soldiers and an unspecified number of Chinese troops dead.

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