Wang Yi, China’s State Councilor and Foreign Minister, will consult with his counterparts in Afghanistan, Pakistan, Nepal, Sri Lanka, and Bangladesh. The conference will take place on Tuesday. The parties will discuss strategies to combat COVID-19 as well as post-pandemic economic recovery. Many suspects that this meeting is in response to India’s horrific crisis. India has seen over 200k cases a day.
The south Asian nations have already voiced their concerns about the latest surge in COVID-19. India logged over 350,000 new daily cases for the fifth day in a row on Monday.
President of Afghanistan, Ashraf Ghani, sent condolences on behalf of Afghans to the Indian families. He acknowledged that many Indians have lost loved ones. He also wished for a speedy recovery for those infected with the virus in India. Pakistan has also provided assistance in the form of humanitarian aid. According to media sources, Pakistan offered to supply ventilators, automated X-ray devices, and personal protective equipment (PPE) to India.
However, not all countries in South Asia have experienced the same fate or sent the same condolence messages. The increase in cases in India has impacted Nepal. Thousands of people have been infected with COVID-19 in India, and Kathmandu has been working hard to control the spread of the disease.
South Asian Countries and their Efforts in Curbing the Virus
“The major topics that would be discussed tomorrow may include cooperation in epidemic fight, border control measures, enhancing the medical treatment capability in South Asia and enhancing information sharing, while vaccine cooperation would be a major focus,” Tian Guangqiang, Assistant Research Fellow at the National Institute of International Strategy of the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences
Tian also said that China will increase its efforts to assist the region in expanding its vaccination program and that the vaccination campaign would most likely be accelerated, with full cooperation at all levels.
India has exported COVID vaccines on its behalf to almost all South Asian countries. However, China has also played its part in providing help to several south Asian countries.
Nepal, for example, declared in March that the vaccination campaign would start once 800,000 doses of the Sinopharm vaccine from China arrived.
The Chinese Embassy in Islamabad reported on Monday that 500,000 doses of Sinovac vaccines had arrived in Pakistan. China will continue to assist Pakistan in its war against the pandemic by ensuring vaccine supplies.