04/30/2021, 18.26
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Vietnam and ASEAN to help India cope with devastating COVID-19 surge

by Thanh Thao

Vietnam’s deputy foreign minister and India’s ambassador meet in Hanoi, pledging to renew mutual support. Shipping oxygen, medicines, drugs and equipment is under consideration. About a thousand Vietnamese nationals have been repatriated in the past few days. ASEAN and India expect bilateral trade to reach US0 billion next year.

Ho Chi Minh City (AsiaNews) – The COVID-19 pandemic is raging in India, crippling its health system. Hundreds of thousands of new cases are reported each day with thousands of deaths. As a result, apocalyptic scenes show ordinary Indians turning to makeshift funeral pyres to burn the bodies of the dead.

In light of this situation, the Government of Vietnam, with the help of ASEAN, announced that it is prepared to help India. Vietnamese Deputy Foreign Minister Nguyèn Quèc Dèng made the pledge to Indian Ambassador Pranay Kumar Verma during a meeting in the Vietnamese capital last Tuesday

The Indian diplomat thanked Vietnamese authorities and people for their support, noting that his government would ensure “favourable conditions” for Vietnamese who study and work in India.

For his part, Vietnam’s Foreign Ministry spokesman Lê Thè Thu Hèng noted that “India is in dire need of oxygen supplies, medical equipment, drugs and other equipment” and must “speed up the vaccination campaign.” With this in mind, Vietnam plans to “share and support the Indian people in this difficult time” in order to stabilise the pandemic and bring it under control.

Meanwhile, in the past few days Vietnam’s Foreign Ministry organised the safe repatriation of at least a thousand Vietnamese nationals from India, while another hundred are still waiting to come home.

At the Tuesday’s meeting, the Vietnamese Deputy Minister and the Indian Ambassador also discussed the 23rd ASEAN–India Senior Officials’ Meeting (SOM) scheduled for the next day

Held via videoconference, the high-level meeting saw participants express cautious optimism, stressing that India will soon be able to bring the pandemic under control with the contribution of its neighbours.

India's Deputy Foreign Minister Riva Ganguly Das thanked ASEAN for its show of solidarity and expressed renewed support for cooperation and strategic partnership between the two parties, in particular sharing information about the pandemic experience, diagnostics, treatment, as well as vaccine production and distribution.

Despite its health emergency, India pledged again a million dollars for the ASEAN fund to fight the COVID-19 pandemic. At the same time, ASEAN members states pledged to work closely with India to promote a global and sustainable recovery for the region and Asia as a whole.

As part of the 2021-2025 five-year action plan, the parties plan to promote trade and investments worth US$ 200 billion next year as well as connectivity, marine cooperation, science and technology exchange, innovation and creativity to prevent and counter natural disasters and meet the challenge of climate change.

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