The dilemma of grief-stricken India and the US

It took more than six months for US administration to realize the seriousness of India’s proposal before WTO for waiver of intellectual property protections for vaccines and to decide to lend support to the India-South Africa proposal. Much publicized Trump-Modi ‘personal friendship’ just failed to evoke any consideration by the then Trump administration. The world devastated with unprecedented and exceptional pain, suffering and death could not prompt itself to evolve as a vibrant, dynamic and civilized community to stand for each other and it just failed the humanity.

The US, however, of late, is choosing to slowly withdraw itself from being at the top of trying mitigate almost all crises of the world – be it political, diplomatic and most importantly Human. It does not, at least, look like the US of up to nineties. The new century started seeing the country starting evading or deliberately reducing its role at the global level. Was disintegration of the USSR responsible for it making the competition, adversity and rivalry non-issues or was it the growing pressing domestic compulsions that resulted in diminishing US clout and limiting global role as somewhat guardian of many of the poor and developing nations across the globe.

This happened to UK through fifties to seventies when continually and progressively lost all its empire in Africa, Middle East and Asia and beginning Attlee regime consciously decided from global involvement concentrating on its domestic wellbeing. That was the end of British imprint over world. The US too is seen going on limiting its global roles and concentrating more on its domestic compulsions and increasing welfare measures of its people.

Nations too started ignoring its advices and sidelining its possible endeavors. 2016 elections saw US people polarizing solely and mainly around the ethos of America first and American people foremost. Trump resembled beginning of Attlee regime in the US and the US crude nationalism and national pride becoming more and more important sidelining all global issues.

The period began to see rise of China as a major global player putting in enormous money into African and Asian countries. 2020 saw China surpassing the US in total FDI and the US continuously started falling behind in future resources, economic relationships and diplomatic influences. Projects like One Belt, One Road became talk of the universe, Entire lot poor and progressing nations started being progressively indebted to China given its capacity to lend massive financial, infra and diplomatic support.

Increasing Chinese global influence has been causing concern for the democracies of the world given Chinese ethos of crude expansionism coupled with cultural and ethical exploitation. India being the largest of democracies and the closest neighbor surrounded by small developing nations falling prey to Chinese sweet traps has all the reasons to be deeply concerned and would look up to the US, the oldest and richest of the democracies, for a genuine partnership and collaboration. Trump did realize the threats involved and went on putting all this on record at various platforms in various forms. Biden too went on record accepting that China was ‘most serious competitor’ on the ‘prosperity, security and democratic values.’

India’s Serum Institute of India, a global leader in vaccine manufacturing sent SOS to the US President requesting for lifting the embargo on raw materials required for producing the Covid vaccine it was mandated to do. This was followed by a serious tele-discussion between Indian Prime Minister and the US President with looming covid disaster in India. This was the fourth such tele-talk of the leaders of the two great democracies of the world – the talks ranged virtually all bilateral and international issues, with Biden administration throwing enough signals of increased co-operation between the two as well as enhanced partnership on global issues. In the background there had been follow ups at the NSA and other various levels of administration of both the countries.

The current pandemic crisis, given the widest of spread and intensity, throws a very basic challenge before the poor and the developing countries. It would result pushing the poor nations to the brink and the developing into many years in the past. At the same time, it is putting enormous opportunity for the richer to come forward, help and assist and earn lot of money as well riding up the top layer of the globe. Post Covid world is going to see a new world order led by new set of super powers and richer nations.

Coming many years of global politics and international relations are going to be the politics and diplomacy of Vaccines – the double shots followed by booster and super booster shots may be at regular intervals to the citizens of world at large. The projected economy of this is just unimaginable at this stage but it is going to be that huge that this one factor would decide who is going to be the global leader. The way China is proceeding with this beginning this early stage would have all the potentials of putting it greatly ahead of all the nations.

The US is allowing this opportunity to slip by. It swiftly sent out the help to India quickly air dropping the medical exigencies equipment and material worth around $100 million. Other countries – big and small – too followed assisting with the same equipment and material – oxygen making equipment, ventilators, ICU equipment, PPEs and masks. But the US could have distinguished itself by helping out with the raw material for the vaccine as urgently requested for and more importantly with the vaccines. This, of course, would follow in future but doing it now would have given the US the edge and lead. And the US was capable of doing it immediately if it wanted
too as it had the both ready – the ready raw material and surplus vaccines.

The pace of vaccination in the country is not that fast, people are given the option of the vaccine brand they wish to have and still the vaccination centers do not have enough people. Besides it has surplus vaccines too which it is not supposed to utilize and would eventually release for aiding the nations it wished to. Had it released them for grief-stricken India for now it would have earned enormous global goodwill.

Commentators and critics world over is ridiculing India’s endeavor to provide vaccines to over ninety countries even though it badly needed them for its own use. Some are terming this Vaccine Maitri mission foolish, some ill-advised and some even personal image building effort of Narendra Modi – the history, however, would note it as a rare and gesture of Vasudhaiv Kutumbkam that India always boosted of. Had destiny been kinder to India, it would have already emerged as champion of providing Sanjivini to crying humanity.

The US has to ponder over seriously and deeply and draw a comprehensive global plan and preparations to reach out to democracies of the world, path of which definitely goes through India. The US has a lot at stake apart from protecting its own glory and place. And it may not afford to ignore the simple mathematics for the sake of any Chemistry whatsoever!



Views expressed above are the author’s own.


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