2020 marks the 70th anniversary of diplomatic relations between China and India. COVID-19 is impacting bilateral relations, and how the two countries interact will affect the future of Asia.
On May 15, the Center for China and Globalization (CCG) held a joint webinar with Synergia Foundation, a leading think tank in India. Panel I was "Asian experience in fighting COVID-19," and panel II was "Asian supply chains during and after the pandemic." Medical experts, business representatives and experts in related fields, conducted in-depth discussions on how China and India can collaborate in fighting the pandemic and address challenges and opportunities together, the role of China-India cooperation in the development of Asia, and China's experiences and lessons in fighting the pandemic.
Nirupama Rao, former Indian ambassador to China, former Foreign secretary of India, and Sun Yuxi, former Chinese ambassador to India, made opening remarks.
Nirupama Rao, former Indian ambassador to China, former Foreign secretary of India, delivered a speech titled "India and China: a test in the time of COVID-19." She said that the world is facing serious challenges and is on the brink of a socio-economic disaster, which will test the ability of humanity to recover. Rao said this is a good opportunity for China and India to exchange views and reflect not only on current difficulties, but also on the vision and strategies for future development. She said that the widespread pandemic reminds us to rediscover rationality and universal values which transcend parochial nationalism.
Rao also pointed out that despite the complexity of China-India relations, as two giants of Asia, both countries are advocates of civilization, peaceful trade, and rich cultural and traditional values. She said that China and India should strengthen cooperation in the face of global challenges such as COVID-19. In addition, she mentioned that China-India economic and trade relations should emphasize serving the cause of the people rather than the interests of mercantilism. She said that technology, public health, and education are bound to become the new frontiers of China-India cooperation. She added that scientific research, urban development, mass transportation, environmental protection and pollution control, climate change and renewable resources, biotechnology, pharmaceuticals, electronic communications and other fields should also become significant in bilateral cooperation.
Sun Yuxi, former Chinese ambassador to India, said in his opening speech that during his tenure from 2005 to 2008, China and India established a strategic cooperative partnership of peace and prosperity. He said that since then, exchanges and cooperation between both peoples and governments have continuously deepened, especially in major international and regional affairs. Sun highlighted how solidarity and cooperation remain the most powerful weapons in the fight against the COVID-19. He said that viruses know no borders, and epidemics have no race. He stressed that coronavirus is the common enemy of humankind, and all humans share the same fate and need to work together.
Ambassador Sun also pointed out that China has undertaken its responsibilities and provided support to the international community during the pandemic. He said that China has not only strengthened cooperation with the WHO as well as other international and regional organizations, but also sent a large quantity of medical supplies and many medical teams to assist other countries in need. He added that China always adheres to the notion of community with a shared future for humanity, and realizes global anti-pandemic fights through all-round cooperation.
He highlighted that both China and India are ancient civilizations, whose population accounts for more than one-third of the world's. Therefore, he suggested that the two countries should set a good example for international collaboration. He mentioned that so far, China and India have maintained high-quality communication and cooperation, especially in controlling the pandemic, and leaders of the two countries also exchanged information on epidemic prevention cooperation and talked to each other several times through phone. He stressed the importance of international cooperation in effective anti-pandemic work.
Sharing experience in the fight against COVID-19 and strengthening international cooperation
The theme of panel I was "Asia's experience in fighting the epidemic." Participants were Ye Baixin, hematologist of the Renmin Hospital of Wuhan University, Laurence Brahm, CCG non-resident senior fellow and founding director of the Himalayan Consensus Research Institute, Wang Feng, editor-in-chief of Financial Time (FT) Chinese website, and Sambratha Shetty, chief operating officer of the Synergia Foundation.
They shared insights on the experiences of anti-epidemic work in Wuhan, why China experience is a valuable reference, the role of information dissemination and media under the pandemic, and the importance of leadership and coordination to fight the pandemic. This section was moderated by CNN channel 18 Senior Editor TM Veeraraghav.
How to revive Asian supply chains under the pandemic
Panel II was titled "Asian supply chains during and after COVID-19" and featured Kevin Kang, chief economist of KPMG China, Gina Qiao, senior vice president, chief strategy officer and chief marketing officer of Lenovo group, Gopi Hanumanthappa, managing director of Thyssen Krupp and Jason Lu, vice president of Kairun group. They discussed how China can recover its economy and revive global supply chains, experiences and lessons for enterprises in the pandemic, the impact of the pandemic on the aerospace industry, as well as the development and opportunities for e-commerce. This section was moderated by CCG Senior Fellow Andy Mok.
Improve cooperation and share a better future
CCG President Wang Huiyao and Synergia Foundation President Tobby Simon delivered closing remarks.
Wang Huiyao said that there is great potential for cooperation between China and India, and that two countries can communicate and cooperate in various fields such as student exchange and tourism. He said that as ancient civilizations with deep historical roots and as close neighbors, China and India should increasingly cooperate with each other to contribute to anti-pandemic work and set a good example for global coordination against COVID-19.