Beijing: China’s state-run ‘Sichuan Airlines’ has suspended all its cargo flights to India for 15 days. This suspension will cause major disruption to private traders’ efforts to procure the much-needed oxygen concentrators. It will also hamper procurement of medical supplies from China. The suspension of flights comes despite Beijing reiterating its readiness to help India to deal with the latest surge of COVID-19 cases.
“China has been following closely the epidemic situation in India. We show our sincerest sympathies to the worsening situation in India,” Foreign Ministry spokesman Wang Wenbin told a media briefing here Monday. She also answered several questions, including suspension of cargo flights by the ‘Sichuan Airlines’.
“We have stated that we are ready to help India fight the virus in the first opportunity available. Two sides are in communication regarding this,” Wang informed.
However, a tweet by the Chinese Embassy in Colombo said Oxygen concentrators are being sent to India.
“800 Oxygen Concentrators have been airlifted today from #HongKong to #Delhi; 10,000 more in a week. #China is keeping in touch with #India for urgent needs,” said a tweet put out by the Chinese Embassy in Colombo.
Wang was asked to comment on the tweet. “China is willing to provide necessary support and help to India in its fight against the virus. If India raises specific demands, we will provide help and support to the best of our capability,” Wang said.
Wang was asked about Chinese manufacturers hiking prices of the medical supplies to India. “India’s readiness to buy medical supplies from China is a commercial activity. If India raises specific demands or complaints we will certainly look into it,” Wang informed.
Wang however, declined to react to Sichuan Airlines decision to suspend its cargo flights to several destinations to India.
In a letter to the sales agents Monday, the Sichuan Chuanhang Logistics Co. Ltd, the company which is part of the Sichuan Airlines said the airline has suspended its cargo flights on six routes, including Xian to Delhi, amid hectic efforts by private traders from both sides to procure oxygen concentrators from China.
In the letter seen by this agency, the company said, ‘in the face of sudden changes in the epidemic situation (in India), in order to reduce the number of imported cases, it is decided’ to suspend the flights for the next 15 days.
“Indian route has always been the core strategic route for Sichuan Airlines. This suspension has also caused great losses to our company. We are very sorry for the unchanged situation,” the letter said and sought the ‘understanding of its sales agents’. It also said the company will review the situation after 15 days.