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Thursday, December 1, 2022

China state airlines suspends cargo flights to Bharat, crucial medical supplies affected

Cargo flights from China to Bharat have been suspended by Sichuan Airlines citing the Chinese Virus pandemic situation in Bharat thereby disrupting crucial medical supplies at a time when traders from Bharat have been attempting to procure life-saving oxygen and other medical items from China.

Reporting on the matter The Indian Express says:

China’s state-run Sichuan Airlines has suspended all its cargo flights to India for 15 days, causing major disruption to private traders’ efforts to procure the much-needed oxygen concentrators and other medical supplies from China despite Beijing offering “support and assistance” to the country to deal with the latest surge of COVID-19 cases.

In a letter to the sales agents on 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 PTI, 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 said. The letter also said the company will review the situation after 15 days.

The suspension of cargo flights came as a surprise to agents and freight forwarders who are frantically trying to procure oxygen concentrators from China.

There are also complaints of Chinese manufacturers jacking up the prices by 35 to 40 percent. The freight charges have been increased to over 20 percent, Siddharth Sinha of Sino Global Logistics, a Shanghai-based freight forwarding company.

He told PTI here that the Sichuan Airlines decision to cancel flights has caused severe disruption to attempts by private traders in both countries to secure quick supplies of the Oxygen concentrators to rush to India in view of the dire situation.

Now it becomes very challenging to rush the supplies as they have to be rerouted through Singapore and other countries through different airlines, which delays the much-needed supplies, he said.

China seems to be using the pandemic to cut off essential supplies at a very crucial juncture despite promising help. The fact that Chinese manufacturers have increased the prices is also indicative of China’s sinister motive to profiteer from the pandemic.

It also exposes China’s doublespeak where on the one hand they promise help and on the other, they resort to blocking essential medical supplies. Bharatiya officials were also taken aback by China’s stance. However, this ruthlessness is something that Bharat could very well emulate to further its national interest.

In international affairs, every opportunity is used to further national interest, and China has sensed that the Covid-19 crisis in Bharat can possibly lead to the removal of Modi from office in the next election. China knows that the resilience Bharat has shown under Modi in defending its territory will melt away under an alternative squabbling coalition govt that they would prefer to deal with in Delhi.

Meanwhile, in Bharat, we have elites and a foreign policy establishment ready to indulge in ‘Aman ki Asha’ fanfare with a deadly, sworn enemy like Pakistan after a token, vague statement about peace from Pak Army chief Bajwa. Bharat, under PM Modi, is attempting to shake off the years of left-liberal stranglehold in foreign affairs and it could well take a leaf or two from China’s book.

Importantly, Bharat needs a nationalist government at the Centre if it were to deal effectively with China’s arm-twisting methods as is being done in cutting off essential medical supplies at a time when Bharat is reeling under increasing Chinese Virus cases.

(Featured Image Source: India Today)

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