India absent at China meet with neighbors on Covid vaccine supply

Beijing: Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi hosted a virtual meeting of his counterparts from some South Asian countries to deal with the COVID-19 situation during which he proposed flexible methods for “diversified and stable” vaccine supplies.

Wang presided over the meeting of the Foreign Ministers of Afghanistan, Pakistan, Nepal, Sri Lanka and Bangladesh to discuss COVID-19 cooperation to firm up its influence in South Asia.

India, Maldives and Bhutan were conspicuously absent at the meeting.

Wang said China also extended an invitation to India to attend the meeting, state-run Global Times reported.

He said that this meeting also extended an invitation to India. China expresses its deep sympathy over the raging epidemic in India and extends its sincere condolences to the Indian people, a press release issued by the Foreign Ministry said.

State-run China Global Television Network quoted him as saying that the first batch of oxygen supplies have been sent to India.

Earlier, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Wang Wenbin told a media briefing that the “door is wide open” for India and other South Asian countries to join the framework.

Except for Pakistan, Nepal, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka and Afghanistan have received vaccine supplies from India.

He also noted that China is willing to set up warehouses for emergency supplies in those countries through friendly consultation and to explore various forms of cooperation tackling the spread of variants of COVID-19.

About China’s offer of extending support and assistance to India, he said, “China has expressed readiness early on to provide necessary support and assistance to India, and is coordinating Chinese enterprises to positively respond to India’s demand for anti-epidemic supplies such as oxygen concentrators”. (The Print)


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