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Indian business leaders express solidarity, laud China's efforts in fighting COVID-19

By Peerzada Arshad Hamid (Xinhua)    10:50, February 29, 2020

People hold a banner to express solidarity with China during a roundtable discussion held by the business community in New Delhi, Feb. 28, 2020. Indian business leaders on Friday lauded the Chinese government's efforts in fighting the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) epidemic and expressed solidarity with the Chinese people. (Xinhua/Javed Dar)

NEW DELHI, Feb. 28 (Xinhua) -- Indian business leaders on Friday lauded the Chinese government's efforts in fighting the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) epidemic and expressed solidarity with the Chinese people.

At a roundtable discussion held in the Indian capital city, the Indian business community expressed hope that trade between the two countries would resume immediately.

"It is not the crisis of China alone but it's the crisis of the world," said Srinivasan Swamy, chairman of International Advertising Association in his keynote address.

"It is a highly interconnected world, so whatever happens there will impact us," Swamy said, adding that they have come together to show solidarity with China. "We stand with China means we stand with the world."

Chinese Ambassador to India Sun Weidong said in a message to the function that since the outbreak of COVID-19, China has adopted the most comprehensive, rigorous and thorough measures to curb the spread of the virus.

"Such efforts have led to a positive turn in the situation nationwide," Sun said. "We have the confidence, capability and determination to overcome the epidemic."

"While making efforts for restart of work and production, we also believe the impact on economy is temporary and our economic and social development goals will be met this year," said the Chinese envoy.

"We need to enhance mutual understanding, strengthen cooperation, resume normal personnel and trade exchanges at an early date, and scale the bilateral relations to a new height," Sun said, urging the two countries to implement the important consensus reached by leaders of both sides during their second informal meeting in Chennai in October 2019.

Saibal Dasgupta, an Indian journalist, lauded China's efforts to combat the epidemic, saying that the Chinese government has done what has never been done in history by imposing traffic restrictions in an area with over 10 million people to contain the disease.

Dasgupta said the government response on short notice was really a lesson for other countries to learn.

"On short notice, Chinese government has managed it well by getting into action. It is a lesson for every country to learn," he said. "Disease don't recognize borders. The world can face such challenges and this is an opportunity for us to learn."

Representatives of the China Council for the Promotion of International Trade (CCPIT), the Chamber of Chinese Enterprises in India (CCEI) and the India China Economic and Cultural Council (ICEC) were also present at the function.

"The substantial recent slowdown in the spread of novel coronavirus in China is real and the Chinese government are considering and taking measures to restore work activities step by step. China is confident in its capabilities and is determined to win the battle," said Harris Liu, chief representative of CCPIT.

CCEI Chairman Alen Wang said India's current visa policy on China has affected the investment in India and expressed hope that New Delhi would normalize the policy.

"We express our concern and worries over the current visa policy in India as it has affected our enterprises and business in India," Wang said. "According to incomplete statistics from our chamber, till now only 2,000 people from Chinese enterprises are staying in India and the loss of Chinese companies is over 50 million U.S. dollars."

Wang said people from China having businesses in India should be given visas at priority, a concern shared by Mohammed Saqib, secretary-general of ICEC.

"We need to dispel rumors and there has to be social engagement between the people of the two countries," said Saqib. "We should have faith in the China government and need to respect their decisions as they have handled the crisis very well. If they would not have handled the situation it could have spread to the whole world at a massive scale."

India's Health Ministry launched a 24x7 helpline to provide support to people regarding queries on the novel coronavirus. Health teams have been deployed at 21 airports, seaports and border crossings across the country to screen the visitors.

The ministry is also circulating the precautionary measures recommended by the WHO for the prevention of COVID-19 in India.


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