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Jaishankar discusses cooperation on COVID-19 with EU, China


New Delhi, Mar 24: External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar on Tuesday held talks with Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi and High Representative of the European Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Josep Borrell Fontelles on the coronavirus pandemic.

Jaishankar discusses cooperation on COVID-19 with EU, China

In a telephonic conversation, Jaishankar assured Fontelles of India's "fullest support" in the return of EU citizens from India. The Chinese foreign minister said China is confident that India can handle and win the battle against COVID-19.

"During a phone call with EAM Dr. Jaishankar today, State Councilor and FM Wang Yi expressed sympathy and solidarity with India in the fight against COVID-19. China is ready to share our experience, provide assistance within our capacity and open its channel for procurement to India."

Chinese Ambassador to India Sun Weidong tweeted after Jaishankar and Wang Yi's telephonic conversation. Wang Yi also told Jaishankar that China and India should support each other and jointly safeguard global public health, according to the Chinese Ambassador to India.

"Jaishankar thanked China for its sympathy message and assistance of medical materials to India," he noted. Wang Yi said it is detrimental to international cooperation to label the virus and stigmatise China. He hoped that India would oppose such "narrow mindset".

US President Donald Trump has been repeatedly calling the novel coronavirus as a "Chinese virus".

According to the Chinese ambassador, Jaishankar agreed not to label the virus and called for a "strong signal of solidarity" from the international community. After the meeting, Jaishankar said on Twitter, "Discussed with State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi of China our working together in combating COVID-19.

Agreed to build further on our bilateral efforts in this domain. Exchanged views on the forthcoming G20 Summit. Global challenges require global cooperation."

In another post, he added, "Reviewed the COVID-19 situation with EU HRVP Josep Borrell Fontelles today. Exchanged views on our respective challenges. Assured him of our fullest support in the return of EU citizens from India." Coronavirus cases in the country crossed the 500-mark and one more death was reported from the infection on Tuesday, taking the toll to 10.

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