India is battling the devastating second wave of Pandemic with new record cases being reported every day and the only solution visible on the horizon is to vaccinate the large population in the quickest way possible.
But India is struggling in its vaccine production rate due to the centralized welfare kind of approach chosen by PM Modi despite having one of the largest vaccine production capacities available in this world. The US administration not agreeing to lift its vaccine raw material ban on Saturday not only added salt to this wound but also threatened the future goodwill of the bilateral relations between the two countries.
This caused a huge uproar in India, with even sections of Biden’s own Democratic party urging him to help a friend in times of need. Indian-American Democratic Congressman Raja Krishnamoorthi had urged Biden to reconsider the ban and send India the resources it requires via a call on early Sunday morning. Indian-American Congressman from California Ro Khanna had also put pressure on the US administration to send the required help to India using the help of the influential Congressional India Caucus. This all is speculated to be done after requests from Indian MEA and India’s own ” James Bond ” NSA Ajit Doval, the former IB Chief who has immense experience in espionage.
Also, a telephonic conversation took place between India’s NSA Doval and his American counterpart Jake Sullivan on Sunday evening. The US seems to have buckled to this pressure put in from various quarters and seeing the threat to its strategic partnership with India has stepped back from its earlier arrogant and aggressive stance employing a more soft, helping behavior towards India.
The Biden administration has not only agreed to provide the specific raw materials required for vaccine manufacturing by SII but also therapeutics, rapid diagnostic test kits, ventilators, and Personal Protective Equipment on an immediate basis. The United States also is pursuing options to provide oxygen generation and related supplies on an urgent basis. Also, it will be sending in a team of experts to help stabilize the situation. The US administration is working round the clock to source the same.
US NSA Jake Sullivan & US Secretary of State Antony Blinken tweeted:
Emily Horne ( spokesperson for the US National Security Council ) soon after the call between respective NSA’s issued a statement highlighting the seven-decade health partnership between the two countries in battles against smallpox, polio, and HIV. The statement further said that US NSA Jake Sullivan expressed solidarity and sympathy with the people of India over his telephonic exchange with his Indian counterpart. Just as India sent assistance to the United States as their hospitals were strained early in the pandemic, the United States is determined to help India in its time of need, the statement further added.
Emphasizing the earlier help offered by the US the statement said that U.S. Development Finance Corporation (DFC) is also funding a substantial expansion of manufacturing capability for BioE, the vaccine manufacturer in India, enabling BioE to ramp up to produce at least 1 billion doses of COVID-19 vaccines by the end of 2022.
Additionally, the United States is deploying an expert team of public health advisors from the Center for Disease Control (CDC) and USAID to work in close collaboration with the U.S. Embassy, India’s health ministries, and India’s Epidemic Intelligence Service staff. USAID will also quickly work with CDC to support and fast-track the mobilization of emergency resources available to India through the Global Fund.
POTUS Biden tweeted:
US Vice President Kamala Harris issued a statement:
The initial refusal from the Biden administration did create a thaw in the bilateral relations, this when India had agreed to help the US last year with HCQ’s despite domestic requirements. Though the change in stance is welcome one must also take it with a pinch of salt as it was only done after tremendous diplomatic pressure was put in from the Indian side including a call from NSA Doval. The fact that statements from 4 senior members of the US administration were issued in a single day regarding the issue and the speed of resolution of the same highlights the pressure which would have been put on the US from the Indian side.
The US will remain a strategic partner for India due to the combined concern of the Chinese threat but after this fiasco, it sure will be doubted upon as an all-weather friend. The fact that India’s two staunch enemies China and Pakistan agreed to help India before the US did so, aggravated the situation further and proved the quote of former Secretary of State Henry A Kissinger, ” To be an enemy of America can be dangerous, but to be a friend is fatal ” right for the nth time.
Also, many other countries have agreed to assist India in various ways upholding “Vasudev Kutumbakam”, a brief of which is mentioned in the following table:
|United Kingdom:||495 oxygen concentrators,120 Non-invasive ventilators, therapeutics, dexamethasone, and 20 manual ventilators.|
|France:||Oxygen supplies and ventilators.|
|Germany:||Oxygen supplies, 24 oxygen generation plants, oxygen tankers. (Speculated, not mentioned directly in the official statements)|
|European Union:||Oxygen-related supplies and Pharmaceutical supplies.|
|Singapore:||4 Cryogenic tanks.|
|United Arab Emirates:||Oxygen Tankers.|
|Iran:||Technical expertise and assistance, medical equipments.|
|Russia:||Oxygen concentrators, oxygen tanks, 300,000 Remdesivir injection, drugs and vaccines.|
|Pakistan:||Edhi Foundation has offered 50 ambulances. Pakistani Government has offered X-ray machines, Bi-Pap machines, and PPEs.|
|China:||Help being offered but exact details unknown.|
|Saudi Arabia:||80MT Oxygen.|
|South Korea:||BTS Army to raise 10 lakhs.|
|Japan:||10 oxygen tankers.|