By Zamir Awan /Oriental Review/ – China-Afghanistan-Pakistan-Nepal Quadrilateral Foreign Ministers’ Video Conference on Joint Response to COVID-19, was held on 27 July 2020. The meeting was chaired by State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi of China and attended by Acting Foreign Minister Mohammad Haneef Atmar of Afghanistan, Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi, and Federal Minister for Economic Affairs Makhdum Khusro Bakhtyar of Pakistan, and Foreign Minister Pradeep Kumar Gyawali of Nepal.
All these four countries are BRI family and sharing mountains & rivers, share a common future with closely entwined interests. Facing the challenge of COVID-19, the four countries made all-out efforts to fight the virus and protect people’s life and health at home. At the same time, they have lent each other material and moral support in the spirit of solidarity and partnership. Such collective efforts speak volumes about the deep friendship between friendly neighbors. China is the first victim of COVID-19 and also the first country in the world who defeated the contagious virus. China emerged as a leader in fighting against Pandemic, was helping the rest of the world by providing medical supplies and sharing its real experience. China proactively approached all these countries to extend its help in saving lives in Afghanistan, Pakistan, and Nepal.
After detailed deliberations, the quadrilateral meeting comes up with various measures to win against COVID-19. Pakistan’s Minister of Economic Affairs Khusro Bakhtyar emphasized on building strong and effective quadrilateral mechanism for joint prevention and control of COVID-19 and urged to take pragmatic and practical steps for the economic recovery of pandemic-stricken countries. He also urged that the vaccine against COVID-19 may be declared a ‘global public good’ as and when it becomes available.
Chinese Foreign Minister proposed four measures: i) To strengthen the consensus on a collective response to the virus. ii) To carry out regional cooperation on a joint response. iii) To step up cooperation on COVID-19 containment and vaccines. iv) To promote post-COVID economic recovery and development.
Ministers of Afghanistan, Pakistan, and Nepal agreed to Wang Yi’s four-points cooperation initiative and thanked China for providing medical assistance, and for sharing experience on COVID-19 containment.
A trilateral dialogue on Afghan Peace, between China-Afghanistan-Pakistan, was a routine matter and has been held three times successfully. Having common interests, Nepal was added to make it a quadrilateral Conference. Nepal shares many things in common in addition to COVID-19. All are BRI family. I fact, Nepal is like Afghanistan, a landlocked country. Nepal was dependant on India for its trade but has been paying the heavy cost to India, not only in the economic term but also on diplomatic, political, and security terms too. India grabbed Nepali Territory, imposed Economic Blockade in 2015, Coercing Nepal, and interfering with Nepal’s domestic affairs. Ultimately, Nepal sought Chinese help to come out of Indian aggressive attitude and blackmailing. China supports Nepal, respects, its sovereignty, assist Nepal to develop Infrastructure and economic activities under BRI initiatives.
It is expected shortly, the BRI family may expand and few more countries in the region may join. Most prospectus countries include Bangladesh, Bhutan, Sikkim, and Iran. All these countries are a natural alliance with China and are beneficiary of BRI.
With the enhanced cooperation among all these countries, the region may become more peaceful, stable, and economic activities may improve leading toward prosperity for the whole region. Integration of all these countries with Russia, Turkey, and Central Asia, may fulfill the long urged dream of Eurasia. With the peace in Afghanistan, the dream of Eurasia seems to be realized soon. Yet, a lot of hard work and uninterrupted struggle is required to achieve the desired goals. There is a famous saying that, a good beginning is half of the success. We have already taken, right steps in the right direction at the right times, and very much optimistic about the future of Eurasia