After Xi’s Letter to PM Modi, China’s FM Calls Jaishankar


China’s Foreign Minister Wang Yi on Friday called External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar and offered their sympathies over the COVID-19 crisis in the country. India on Friday logged 3,86,452 new coronavirus infections, the highest single-day rise so far, and also reported 3,498 new fatalities.

“Received a call from State Councilor & FM Wang Yi conveying China’s sympathies at the COVID challenge now faced by India,” Jaishankar wrote on Twitter. The two leaders also discussed the “international cooperation aspects of the public health response to this difficult situation.” The external affairs minister said he highlighted the importance of keeping the supply chains and air flights open in the given circumstances, and received assurances from the other side in this regard. Jaishankar also pushed for more openness to Indian chartered flights.

The two sides also discussed the implementation of the Moscow Agreement of complete disengagement at all friction points along the LAC and restoration of peace in Eastern Ladakh. India and China further agreed to continue discussions in this respect, Jaishankar said.

Meanwhile, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken also spoke to Jaishankar and reaffirmed the strength of the US-India partnership in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic. Blinken expressed his appreciation for India’s assistance, earlier, as he reviewed the US government’s efforts to support India. The first US emergency aid to India arrived on Friday as several states said they would be unable to begin vaccinating all over-18s from this weekend as planned.

The secretary also noted the support from US industries, non-governmental institutions, and citizens for COVID-19 relief efforts in India. Blinken offered condolences over the crisis that India is facing and agreed to maintain close contact with Jaishankar.

Earlier today, Chinese President Xi Jinping on Friday sent a message of condolences to Prime Minister Narendra Modi over the pandemic and offered to provide support and help to deal with the current surge in COVID-19 cases in the country. In his message, Xi said China is willing to strengthen anti-pandemic cooperation with India, and provide support and help to the country, the report said. On Thursday, Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi promised to do the utmost in supporting India’s fight against the COVID-19 surge and said that anti-pandemic materials produced in China were entering India at a faster pace.

In his letter to External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar, Wang said that the Chinese side “shares empathy for the challenges facing India and expresses sincere sympathy”. “The coronavirus is the common enemy of mankind, and the international community needs solidarity and coordination for a concerted response. The Chinese side firmly supports the Indian Government and people in fighting the pandemic,” he wrote in the letter, a copy of which was tweeted by Chinese Ambassador to India Sun Weidong.

Wang said that anti pandemic materials produced in China are entering India at a faster pace to help India fight the epidemic. “The Chinese side will continue to do its utmost to provide support and help according to the needs of India. We hope and believe that under the leadership of the Indian Government, the Indian people will surely prevail over the epidemic at an early date,” he added.

The messages from President Xi and Foreign Minister Wang came even as the militaries of the two countries are yet to resolve the disengagement from the remaining areas of eastern Ladakh after the withdrawal from Pangong lake area in February.

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