The Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) on Sunday said that India has imposed “some restrictions” on export of certain medical equipment to China in view of their shortage of supply in the country, and the precautions taken are in accordance with World Health Organisation’s (WHO) advisory for the coronavirus outbreak.
“The precautions taken by India are in accordance with the WHO’s advisory about the outbreak of Coronavirus infection, which is a global public health emergency. Some restrictions have been imposed on export of certain medical equipment in view of the fact that these items are in short supply here too,” Kumar said.
The MEA spokesperson’s statement came in response to Chinese medical institutions, charity organisations and local authorities complained that New Delhi has prohibited the export of medical products “most needed in the prevention of the epidemic in China”.
“Just like any other country, India with a billion-plus population has the responsibility to take the necessary measures to combat the spread of the COVID-19 outbreak which if not properly managed can become a global risk,” he said.
Kumar also said that responding to the need of China, the Indian government had allowed a one-time exemption for the export of some items which had been restricted for exports.
Earlier in the day, the Chinese embassy in India had said it hopes India would review the situation arising out of the outbreak of novel coronavirus in “an objective and rational manner and resume “normal personnel exchanges and trade” between the two countries as soon as possible.
“WHO has repeatedly not recommended even opposed any travel and trade restrictions, which should be followed by all parties. It is hoped that the Indian side could review the epidemic situation in an objective, rational and calm manner, handle China’s much-needed items in a cooperative and constructive way, and resume normal personnel exchanges and trade between our two countries as soon as possible,” said Chinese embassy in India spokesperson Ji Rong in a statement.
Meanwhile, Kumar noted that Prime Minister Narendra Modi had written to Chinese President Xi Jinping and offered assistance in the hour of need.
“In a humanitarian gesture of medical relief, a gift reflecting the solidarity of the people of India with the people of China, is expected to be delivered to Wuhan by a special flight. We have also called upon the Chinese authorities to allow Indian citizens and those of our neighbouring countries to return by the same flight. We hope that they will give a positive consideration,” Kumar said.
Earlier, informed sources had told ANI that Beijing is yet to grant clearance to the third flight from New Delhi, which will carry relief supplies to the virus-hit nation and also bring back the remaining Indian nationals from Wuhan.
The Chinese embassy in India had refuted the reports, saying, “We are carefully assessing the ground situation, as prevention work requires. Competent departments of the two countries are keeping communication and coordination in this regard. There is no such thing as China deliberately delaying granting flight permission.-Business Standard