Even as the year-old military standoff continues on the Ladakh border, medical supplies have been coming to India from China for the past two weeksin view of the COVID crisis, according to Sun Weidong, Chinese Ambassador to New Delh.
“In the past two weeks, 61 cargo flights have been in operation from China to India, transporting various urgently needed medical supplies for India. The latest cargo flight carrying oxygen generators & other equipment took off from Tianjin, China to India at 11:15am today,” Sun tweeted today.
The tweet about the supplies came a day after Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi called up External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar, who pressed for keeping open the supply chains and flight operations.
Jaishankar also raised the issue of pending disengagement at the Line of Actual Control (LAC) in the Eastern Ladakh sector, emphasizing that it should be carried out completely with full sincerity.
“Received a call from State Councilor & FM Wang Yi conveying China’s sympathies at the COVID challenge now faced by India. Discussed the international cooperation aspects of the public health response to this difficult situation,” Jaishankar tweeted after the phone conversation.
“Highlighted the importance of supply chains and air flights being kept open in these circumstances. Welcomed his assurances in that regard, as also more openness to Indian chartered flights,” the External Affairs Minister said in another tweet.
“Also discussed the issue of full and sincere implementation of the Moscow Agreement of complete disengagement at all friction points along the LAC and full restoration of peace and tranquility in Eastern Ladakh. Agreed to continue discussions in this respect,” he added.
Lijian Zhao, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson, said Wang assured Jaishankar that China “will spare no efforts to provide support and help to India.”
“Wang said China will adopt 3 measures to offer further help to India – continue to encourage and support Chinese companies to expedite production and offer medical supplies to India; facilitate India’s purchase of medical supplies in terms of customs clearance and transportation and hold virtual meetings between health experts from both sides to share experience and practical measures.
Earlier, Chinese President Xi Jinping also sent a letter to Prime Minister Narendra Modi offering sympathies and assuring cooperation.
The Chinese moves come even as it refuses to pull back its troops from various frictions points along the LAC in Ladakh sector despite India pressing for it to restore peace at the border.
The military standoff began exactly a year ago when China launched aggression with an aim of changing the status quo on the LAC. China mobilized tens of thousands of troops along the LAC and India carried out the matching deployment, leading to an eyeball-to-eyeball situation.
The situation turned ugly on June 15 last year when the soldiers of the two countries clashed physically, resulting in the death of 20 Indian soldiers and an unspecified number of Chinese soldiers.
While there has been no flare up after that, disengagement has been pending, even though it was carried out in Pangong Lake area.
The troops continue to be in eyeball-to-eyeball situation in various other areas along the LAC, like Depsang, Gogra Hills and Hot Springs, as China refuses to pull back its troops despite agreements reached during several rounds of talks at various levels.