New Delhi, June 3 -- At the 2019 informal summit between India and China at Mamallapuram, on the periphery of Chennai, Prime Minister (PM) Narendra Modi and President Xi Jinping decided to celebrate the 70th anniversary of bilateral relations in 2020 by deepening exchanges at all levels - between the legislatures, political parties, cultural and youth organisations, even the militaries of the two countries. The two leaders also decided to organise 70 activities, including a conference on a ship that would trace the historical connect between the two civilisations.

No one expected that rosy diplomatic picture would turn as grim as it has now, with the spread of the coronavirus that was first reported from Wuhan - ironically, the site of the...