China on Monday “applauded” the aid sent by India during the height of Beijing’s battle against the deadly coronavirus and said it would like to share its experience in handling the COVID-19 with New Delhi and provide necessary assistance in preventing its spread.
India sent about 15 tonnes of medical assistance comprising masks, gloves and other emergency medical equipment to the coronavirus-hit Wuhan city on February 26 by a military plane, which also evacuated 112 Indians and several foreign nationals.
In his media briefing, Foreign Ministry spokesman Geng Shuang said China is extending assistance and aid to local governments in 19 countries which have extended assistance to it when the coronavirus outbreak struck the country.
Asked about the conspicuous absence of India in the 19 countries listed by him, Geng said India and China have an “unimpeded channel of exchanges and the exchange is close.”
“After the outbreak of COVID-19, China and India have been in communication and there is cooperation between the two. Prime Minister Narendra Modi sent a letter of sympathies with the Chinese side and the Indian foreign minister also spoke with the Chinese side over phone,” he said.
“We have received assistance from the Indian side and we applaud that. We have a mechanism of exchanges and China has been notifying the information to India in a timely manner,” he said.
“We have also been providing assistance and necessary convenience to the Indians in China. We have been protecting their health and safety,” he said.
“As the pandemic spreads, we have also noted the situation in India. China and India are the only two countries with a population of over one billion. The virus is a challenge to all and we would like to share our experience with the Indian side and further provide necessary assistance to the Indian side,” he said.
Geng also pointed out India was part of a video conference conducted by the Chinese officials to share their COVID-19 experience with Eurasia and South Asian countries recently.
South Asian countries including India, Sri Lanka, Bhutan, Nepal, Pakistan, Maldives, Bangladesh participated in it, he said.
Officials included those from health authorities, diplomatic services, national defence, customs civil aviation etc. The World Health Organisation delegates in the relevant countries also participated in the video conference, he said.