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Former Foreign Secretary Nirupama Rao calls for impartial inquiry into origins of COVID-19 pandemic

Speaking on India-China ties, the former diplomat said, "Our relationship is based on balance. The issues that will determine our future should be based on peace, not conflict."

Published: 16th May 2020 05:16 PM  |   Last Updated: 16th May 2020 05:18 PM   |  A+A-

Nirupama Rao. PTI File Photo

Express News Service

BENGALURU: In a world ravaged by COVID-19, there is a need for 'rationality that rises above the confines of geographical borders', said India’s former Foreign Secretary and ambassador to China Nirupama Rao in a webinar on 'India and China: Two Asian Giants Amidst a Pandemic' organised by the city-based think tank Synergia Foundation on Friday.

She said this year India and China, two great ancient civilisations, are commemorating 70 years of their diplomatic relationship but it has been marred by 'news from the Himalayan borders'. The former diplomat said, "Our relationship is based on balance. The issues that will determine our future should be based on peace, not conflict. We must serve the cause of our people and build our trade and investment relationships.”  

Calling for an 'impartial inquiry' into the origin of the pandemic, Rao said, "World leaders are looking at a COVID vaccine for the health of all and that should be our common goal. It is time to put the world first and not a nation. Unfortunately, the grammar of diplomatic language has been reduced to street insults. The world needs resilience and durability of human spirit. The road is long."

Former Chinese ambassador to India Sun Yuxi concurred with Rao and highlighted the role of international co-operation in the global battle against COVID-19.

“At a critical time, the Indian government helped China with medical supplies and support, which is greatly appreciated by us. Similarly, China has extended support and shared its experiences with countries fighting the virus. Unfortunately, in a global crisis like this, finger pointing by some world leaders is dividing the international community and leading to prejudice,” said the former Chinese diplomat.

He added that strict preventive measures taken by the Indian government at the initial stages to control the spread of the pandemic in the country are of “immense significance.”

Tobby Simon, president, ‘Synergia Foundation’, stressed upon the importance of a healthy bilateral relationship between India and China.

Dr Ye Baixin, haematologist, Renmin Hospital of Wuhan University, who is credited with saving thousands of lives, said three key factors -- early lockdown, free medical treatment to all and massive medical support to Wuhan from across China -- helped control the spread of COVID-19 in Wuhan.

Founder and Chairman, KORRUN Group, Fan Jinsong rued the “unreliable reporting” and “misinformation” on China by the international media.

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