China-South Asia cooperation: Sky’s the limit
China and South Asian countries are moving towards greater cooperation. COVID-19 has ushered in an era of high value-added health cooperation between China and countries in South Asia. This cooperation can be described as a common humanitarian bond to save lives.
Previously, China and the countries of Southeast Asia cooperated in the field of health care in limited areas. In the post-COVID-19 situation, human health appears to be the common entry point to facilitate the comprehensive socio-economic reconstruction of societies in South Asia
Last April, China offered to help South Asian countries access COVID-19 vaccines. Chinese State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi hosted a conference attended by his Afghan, Pakistani, Nepalese, Sri Lankan and Bangladeshi neighbors. India did not participate. During the raging pandemic, China expressed “its deep sympathy and sincere condolences to the Indian people.” According to China’s understanding, ties with the Republic of India are most important in South Asia.
South Asian countries
The meeting underscored China’s willingness to build emergency supply reserves with countries in South Asia in the fight against COVID-19.
China is ready to promote vaccine cooperation with South Asia in the form of donations, commercial purchases and bottling, and production to ensure a stable supply.
Wang Yi and his counterparts also discussed the post-pandemic economic recovery and ways to maintain a healthy international environment for the development of all countries. China pledged to “uphold the concept of a community with a shared future for mankind, stand firmly alongside the people of Southeast Asian countries, join hands and unite until that all the countries of the region ultimately prevail over the pandemic ”.
Regarding the post-epidemic recovery, China facilitated, last July, the creation of a Cooperation Center for Poverty Reduction and Cooperative Development between China and South Asian countries in Chongqing.
China and South Asia (C-SA) are major centers of world populations. Of the world population of 7.52 billion in 2020, the ASC region accounted for 42%. If the governments here can cooperate in poverty reduction, this region will have made a great contribution to humanity.
China has indeed contributed greatly. General Secretary Xi Jinping said at a ceremony marking the centenary of the Communist Party of China (CCP) that China has brought a historic resolution to the problem of absolute poverty in China. This is not only a great achievement for the CCP and the Chinese people, but also important for the global efforts to alleviate poverty.
The World Bank’s per capita absolute poverty line is $ 1.90 and the global proportion of people living in absolute poverty is 9.30 percent. But the SAARC region has 15.2 percent of people living in absolute poverty. Meanwhile, China has significantly reduced the absolute poverty rate. There may be many more possibilities for CSA cooperation on poverty reduction in terms of both concepts and targeted development programs.
Inspired by the success of targeted poverty reduction programs in China, the Siddhartha Vanasthali Institute, a temple of learning in Kathmandu with 2,000 students, plans to continue a program of cooperation with Chinese academic institutions on ‘the use of education opportunities for poverty reduction of targeted disadvantaged students ”whereby identified group of students will get help with their tuition and accommodation.
The Chongqing Poverty Alleviation Center aims to pool strengths, integrate resources and exchange knowledge to support and assist economic development and improved livelihoods of South Asian countries, promoting jointly the cause of poverty reduction.
Chongqing, an autonomous cosmopolitan city in southwest China, is willing to share its experience in poverty reduction with countries in South Asia and cooperate in poverty eradication projects, in the process of making the center a new platform of friendly cooperation between China and Southeast Asia.
Tweeting about the meeting, former Nepalese Foreign Minister Pradeep Gyawali stressed the “need for enhanced regional and international cooperation for the anti-COVID response and recovery.”
Non-state organizations in China have been seen active in negotiations with local governments and institutes to collect anti-pandemic resources such as masks, protective suits, ventilators and other items to help India, as well as other South Asian countries. China has the will, capacity and resources to help India and other countries in South Asia fight Covid-19.
China wants to cooperate with India “through several channels to help it fight the epidemic.” In the case of Nepal, Chinese Vero Cell vaccines alone have covered more than 50% of the vaccines given to the population so far, and China has also produced more than 50% of the total COVID vaccines in the country. world.
Non-alignment for cooperation
Nepal’s new Foreign Minister, as he attended a high-level Non-Aligned Movement (NAM) commemorative meeting in Belgrade in October, stressed the need to galvanize South-South cooperation to liberate and exit the countries and peoples in the clutches of poverty, inequality and deprivation. Minister Dr Narayan Khadka said: “For NAM to be relevant in influencing global programs of common interest, it must forge unity, cohesion, cooperation and solidarity among its members. The MNA must be strong internally to foster goodwill and cooperation so that division and discord do not surface to undermine the unity of the Movement.
However, the non-aligned position of any country is increasingly challenged by world powers.
Lin Minwang, a Chinese scholar, in his October 13 analysis published in the Global Times, observed India’s renunciation of its non-alignment policy. He says, “New Delhi’s justification for ‘defecting’ to the American camp is the ‘Chinese threat’.
He says India’s self-aggrandizement is reflected more directly in the Sino-Indian border issue. “The Indian media seem to have a particular preference for fabricating and exaggerating the issue of the Sino-Indian border. In fact, India is also doing this to the United States to show how hard India is working to contain China so that the United States feels its “strategic value”, “he writes.
Unexpectedly, the dependence on the United States and its camp gave New Delhi an illusory confidence. It’s just that. Ultimately India will suffer, the scholar concluded.
I don’t think any of us will like to see our neighbor suffer. As Confucius said, “Our greatest glory is not to never fall, but to get up every time we fall. “
To increase, recent developments in China-South Asia cooperation show that building and rebuilding new indigenous and self-governing interregional institutions is a prerequisite in the areas of non-traditional sources of security threat such as health and abatement. of poverty.
Chinese leaders are aware that, like China, South Asia is not a liberated region. The self-interest and confidence of this region is colored by the divisive power games and the colonial mentality. This created a serious risk for the independence of the region, internal cohesion and the integrity and credibility of the non-aligned.
I wish China would treat South Asia like a doctor, full of compassion, full of support mechanisms necessary to revitalize and rejuvenate a trans-Himalayan path of connectivity, development, reform and exchange. China’s strong positivism will help build a South Asia that can support rejuvenation on its own reformed foundations.
(From the writer’s presentation on October 20, 2021 during a webinar hosted by the “Southern Silk Road” Economics and Cultures Research Center in the “Jinjiang Oriental Forum” 2021 from Sichuan University Jinjiang College. The author is the general secretary of the China Study Center Nepal)
– L’Express des Annapurnas