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China holds third South Asia multilateral meet

Topics covered: Bilateral, regional and global groupings and agreements involving India and/or affecting India’s interests.

 China holds third South Asia multilateral meet


Context:

China has held its third multilateral dialogue with countries from South Asia to take forward closer cooperation on fighting COVID-19.

  • It also strive to coordinate their economic agendas, reflecting a new approach in Beijing’s outreach to the region.

 Key points:

  • The third dialogue, held virtually on January 6, brought together every country in the region barring India, Bhutan and the Maldives.
  • It was aimed at “anti-epidemic cooperation and poverty reduction cooperation”.

 South Asia multilateral meet

All three dialogues have been attended by Pakistan and Nepal, which are emerging as two lynchpins in China’s regional strategy.

  • The first such meeting was convened by China in July, and was attended by Pakistan, Nepal and Afghanistan.
  • The second meet was held in November by a five-member grouping attended by China, Pakistan, Nepal, Sri Lanka and Bangladesh.
  • The third and recent January 6 meeting was attended by all five countries that have taken part in these dialogues — Pakistan, Nepal, Afghanistan, Sri Lanka and Bangladesh.

 CPEC extension

At the July quadrilateral dialogue with Afghanistan, Nepal and Pakistan, China’s Foreign Minister proposed extending the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) to Afghanistan.

  • China discussed about taking forward an economic corridor plan with Nepal, called the Trans-Himalayan Multi-dimensional Connectivity Network.
  • The four countries were “connected by mountains and rivers”, and china also offered to share China’s expertise and capacities on COVID-19 vaccines.

 Significance and implications of the meet:

  • The virtual meet seen as a bid to strengthen cooperation among the four nations in pandemic response and economic recovery.
  • The two virtual meets appear part of China’s growing engagement in the region, in the wake of the global pandemic.

Source: The Hindu