China holds meet with SAARC members; Bid to upstage India at regional level?

at 4:19 pm

New Delhi (NVI) In a hugely significant development, China is roping in India’s neighbours and SAARC members under the pretext of fighting coronavirus, a move that is not expected to go down well in New Delhi.

Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi has held a video conference with his counterparts from Nepal, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Pakistan and Afghanistan to discuss cooperation in the fight against coronavirus pandemic, Chinese Ambassador to India Sun Weidong said today.

In a series of tweets, Sun said, China also “extended an invitation to India for the meeting” but did not elaborate.

“State Councilor & FM Wang Yi @ virtual meeting of six FMs from China, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Nepal, Sri Lanka and Bangladesh on cooperating to fight Covid19,” he tweeted about the meeting which was held yesterday.

“(Chinese FM) Noted that India is making every effort to fight against the pandemic. Chinese side expresses deep sympathy for the raging epidemic in India & extends sincere compassion to the Indian people,” Sun added in another tweet.

He said Wang “reiterated that China is ready to provide support & help to the Indian people at any time as per India’s needs.”

The Ambassador added, “Relevant Chinese enterprises have taken active actions with support of Chinese government, and the first batch of oxygen concentrators have been sent to India.”

The development is immensely significant as it amounts to creating a forum parallel to the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) regional grouping as all the countries which participated in this meeting, except China, are members of the SAARC which India has a lead role.