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Cold India at China’s invitation to participate in the joint fight against Covid | India News

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NEW DELHI: India on Thursday rejected an invitation from China to join the latter’s initiative to fight the pandemic alongside South Asian nations. Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi met with his counterparts from Nepal, Bangladesh, Afghanistan, Pakistan and Sri Lanka on Tuesday to cooperate against Covid-19.
Chinese Ambassador to India Sun Weidong said on Wednesday that Beijing had also invited India to the meeting that China has been organizing with countries in India’s backyard.
When asked about the invitation, official sources said that India had not recognized the initiative and that its own efforts to involve its neighbors had been more significant. India held several Saarc meetings virtually last year as a way to reaffirm its commitment to share more “knowledge, experience and best practices” in the joint fight against Covid-19 for, as it said, the broader regional good.
Even as the pandemic ravages India, the government has so far not sought any help directly from the Chinese government. Instead, it has focused on facilitating acquisitions by the private sector. Government sources did not comment on repeated offers of help from the Chinese government.
Sun said in a tweet that Chinese customs will facilitate the relevant process for acquisition by Indian companies.
“Chinese medical suppliers are working overtime on orders from India, at least 25,000 orders for oxygen concentrators in recent days. There are plans for cargo planes for medical supplies,” he said.
While this is not the first time that China has met with India’s Saarc neighbors about Covid-19, the latest engagement comes at a time when the export of vaccines from India to some of these countries has been halted due to the increase in cases in the country. Both Nepal and Sri Lanka began accepting Chinese vaccines only when supplies from India ran out.
Bangladesh has also been forced to look to Russia and China to maintain vaccination after a delay in supplies from the Serum Institute of India. Bangladeshi Foreign Minister AK Abdul Momen was quoted on Tuesday as saying that China had responded “positively” to Dhaka’s request for the Covid-19 vaccine.
So far, India has also been cold to Pakistan’s offer of aid. Government sources did not comment on the Pakistani Foreign Ministry statement saying that Islamabad was ready to supply equipment such as fans to India.

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