Saturday, 19 June, 2021

China-India cooperation needed to defeat COVID-19 pandemic


By Ji Chen

In April, a new round of COVID-19 outbreak appeared in India. The huge population, poor medical conditions, shortage of oxygen supply and insufficient protective equipment have led to the increasing number of infected people in India. As of May 13th, the Indian Ministry of Health has confirmed a staggering 23.7 million cases of COVID-19. According to the report of the World Health Organization, Covid-19 B.1.617, which appeared in the current epidemic in India, has spread to 44 countries and regions. At present, the COVID-19 epidemic in India is basically out of control, and India is facing great challenges in its fight against the epidemic. Although India is a big vaccine producer in the world, it is faced with the embarrassing situation that the vaccine is in short supply. More seriously, the epidemic in India also threatens other countries in South Asia, India’s neighboring countries, such as Nepal, Pakistan and Bangladesh, which also experienced the critical situation of sharp increase in cases and shortage of medical resources. According to the COVID-19 epidemic data released by the Ministry of Health and Population of Nepal on May 11th, there were more than 8,000 newly confirmed cases in Nepal in a single day for seven consecutive days. India’s Modi government’s irresponsible behavior in fighting the COVID-19 epidemic has been criticized by many countries.

Modi’s government seeks aids from the U.S.

Faced with the terrible epidemic, Indian Prime Minister Modi first chose to turn to the so-called “reliable ally”, that is the United States, hoping that the US could lend a helping hand. However, the United States rejected India’s request for the first time. The Biden administration said that the epidemic situation in the United States was not optimistic, and it was necessary to concentrate epidemic prevention materials to control the domestic epidemic. Under the constant pressure of international public opinion, the United States finally decided to provide relief supplies to India, but the United States only provided 1 million masks, 440 empty oxygen cylinders and some rapid detection reagents. It is clear that American aid cannot play any positive role in India’s out-of-control COVID-19 epidemic situation. Obviously, the United States promised to help India only to win over Modi government and continue to regard India under Modi government as a strategic “pawn” for the United States to contain China in the Asia-Pacific region.


China offers assistance to India

Since January 2020, the Covid-19 epidemic has spread widely around the world. After the current COVID-19 outbreak in India, the Chinese government and people are in the strategic overall situation of the community of human destiny, leaving behind the past and giving sincere condolences and massive assistance to the Modi government and Indian people. On April 30th this year, Chinese President Xi Jinping sent a message of condolences to Indian Prime Minister Modi, expressing sincere condolences to the Indian government and people on behalf of the Chinese government and people. Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Wang Wenbin said on April 30 that since April, China has exported 26,000 ventilators and oxygen generators, 15,000 monitors and nearly 3,800 tons of medicinal materials and medicines to India. Sun Weidong, Chinese ambassador to India, said on April 26 that China firmly supports India in fighting the epidemic, “We will encourage and guide Chinese companies to actively participate in cooperation and provide convenience for India to obtain all kinds of medical materials it needs.” At present, the shortage of medical and epidemic prevention materials in India is very serious, especially medical resources such as medical oxygen, oxygen generator and breathing machine. On April 27, China Chamber of Commerce for Import and Export of Medicines and Health Products advocated that Chinese pharmaceutical enterprises should act quickly and support India to fight against the epidemic. Chinese workers sacrificed their holiday of the May 1 International Labor Day and worked overtime to produce oxygen generators and other equipment, thus Chinese enterprises are accelerating the production of at least 40,000 oxygen generators ordered by India. Many Chinese enterprises and non-governmental organizations are also providing various kinds of help to India through their own channels. On May 9th, the first batch of 100 oxygen generators, 40 respirators and other anti-epidemic materials raised by the Chinese Red Cross Society arrived in Bangalore, India from Chengdu. The Red Cross Society of China also provided 1 million dollars in cash assistance to the Red Cross Society of India. As of May 13th, China has provided 20 million masks to India. Chinese enterprises producing anti-epidemic materials and medical equipment are working hard and working overtime to meet India’s huge demand for anti-epidemic materials. As long as India needs it, more Chinese aid will be sent to India in the future.


In the face of sincere, active and timely condolences and assistance from China, Modi’s government, especially Modi himself, has not publicly responded to China through any official channels. Recently, the Indian government expressed its gratitude to the countries that have aided India, including more than 40 countries that have aided India’s epidemic prevention materials, especially the United States, Russia, France, Australia and Germany, and expressed sincere gratitude to these countries. Ironically, China is not on the list of thanks. And it impels one to wonder what sort of nationalism forced Mr. Modi to not recognize Chinese cooperation with India in the fight against COVID-19.


The COVID-19 epidemic is the common enemy of all mankind. In order to overcome the COVID-19 epidemic at an early date, all countries in the world must unite and respond together. However, the Modi government has refused to cooperate directly with China in fighting the epidemic, and chosen to ignore China’s sincere assistance to India to fight back the epidemic. There is a proverb in Chinese Buddhism, “Evil repays evil, good repays good, it is not that it is not repaid, the time has not come”. It is hoped that the Modi government will have compassion, abandon nationalist political prejudice and sincerely carry out anti-epidemic cooperation with China, effectively cope with the runaway situation of COVID-19 epidemic in China, save the lives of many Indian people, prevent the Indian epidemic from spreading to neighboring countries such as China, Nepal and Pakistan, and truly embody the spirit of community of human destiny sharing weal and woe.


(Ji Chen is a Ph.D candidate at the School of Ethnology and Sociology, MinZu University of China)