How China Is Helping ‘Arch-Rival’ India & ‘Iron Brother’ Pakistan To Fight Covid-19 Pandemic

India may not have accepted China’s state aid to tackle the devastating second wave of coronavirus pandemic, however, New Delhi has not been averse to taking assistance from Chinese private and non-government agencies.

Pakistan, on other hand, is heavily dependent on Beijing’s assistance.

The Red Cross Society of China (RCSC) has donated anti-epidemic supplies which reached India on May 9. China’s ambassador to India had announced this on Twitter and shared photos of the shipment.

He had earlier stated that “China provides the most oxygen concentrators to India”, adding that “Chinese companies carry forward the spirit of humanitarianism, focus on saving lives, respond to wants and needs of the Indian people.”

RCSC has donated the first batch of supplies, which include 100 oxygen concentrators and 40 ventilators, besides $1 million as cash assistance to the Indian Red Cross Society through the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies.

India is currently facing a deadly second wave of COVID-19 cases, which have crippled its health infrastructure. It has also stopped the export of vaccines and is receiving foreign aid.

As of May 10, India has 3.74 million active cases and 246,116 deaths, according to the Ministry of Health.

Joining the cue of nations, China has also offered a helping hand to India. Chinese President Xi Jinping had suggested extending China’s official assistance in a letter and through a phone call to Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi on April 30.

While India has rebuffed such gestures, it has stated that it is open to receiving assistance from private companies and civil society organizations in China such as the Red Cross Society.

Most likely, the supply of equipment from China to India will happen through non-governmental routes.

After getting swamped by orders and requests, the China Chamber of Commerce for Import and Export of Medicines and Health Products (CCCMHPIE), a national industrial association, launched a public proposal for Chinese medical enterprises on April 26 to take immediate action.

So far, an order for 60,000 oxygen concentrators has been placed by Indian firms.

Chinese Aid To Pakistan

China has been providing medical supplies to Pakistan since the outbreak of the pandemic. The two countries are seen as all-weather allies. Currently, the South Asian country is in the midst of a third wave and has announced a 10-day nationwide lockdown from May 8.

Snubbed by India, which has otherwise extended its vaccine outreach, Vaccine Maitri,  to different countries, Pakistan had to heavily rely on China for its needs.

It received its first batch of doses, half a million of China’s Sinopharm vaccine, on February 1.

On April 30, Pakistan had applied for 13 million doses from three Chinese companies, which will be delivered throughout May and June. The country hopes to vaccinate 70 million people by the year’s end.

“For now, China remains the primary source for vaccines to meet our present and ongoing needs but all our options are open for effective and safe vaccines,” Pakistan’s health minister Faisal Sultan said.

According to Pakistan’s Geo News, the country received 1 million doses of China’s Sinovac vaccine on May 9, their 15th consignment till now, through a special plane of Pakistan International Airline (PIA).

Pakistan has also started the local production of China’s single-dose CanSino vaccine to make the country more self-sufficient. It hopes to avoid a second wave similar to the one ailing India.