Bangladesh says India is welcome to join China-led grouping of South Asian countries

India is welcome to join the newly launched grouping of South Asian countries on Covid-19 and poverty alleviation led by China, said Bangladesh Foreign Minister AK Abdul Momin, adding that the initiative isn’t meant to exclude India

Jul 22, 2021
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Bangladesh Foreign Minister AK Abdul Momin

India is welcome to join the newly launched grouping of South Asian countries on Covid-19 and poverty alleviation led by China, said Bangladesh Foreign Minister AK Abdul Momin, adding that the initiative isn’t meant to exclude India. 

Beijing last week launched the China-South Asian Countries Poverty Alleviation and Cooperative Development Centre, which excluded India and its close allies in the region Bhutan and the Maldives.   The initiative, proposed by Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Li during an April meeting that he had held with foreign ministers of South Asian countries on Covid-19 cooperation, is widely been seen as an ‘India minus initiative’. 

However, in a recent interview to The Hindu, Momin said New Delhi could join the if it so desired. 

“We asked, how about India, and the Chinese [government] said this forum is open to India and India is welcome. In fact, even at the Foreign Minister’s meeting which included Pakistan, they said India would be welcome to join,” Momin was quoted as saying by The Hindu.

Mentioning India’s decision to suspend the export of Covid vaccines, he said it had become a “big issue” back home. Bangladesh had signed a contract for 5 million Covishied vaccines per month with the Serum Institute of India. 

"China approached us when we were in the dire need of vaccines", Momin said. Later, Bangladesh signed a contract with the Chinese Sinopharm for the supply of Covid-19 vaccines. The two nations are also discussing the co-production of vaccines. 

(SAM)

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