America’s Belated Covid-19 Aid
After weeks of ambivalence, US President Joe Biden agreed to send raw materials for Covid vaccines to India. In a tweet, the US president assured that “Just as India sent assistance to the United States as our hospitals were strained early in the pandemic, we are determined to help India in its time of need.” Reiterating the same sentiment, US Vice President Kamala Harris stated that “The US is working closely with the Indian Government to rapidly deploy additional support and supplies during an alarming Covid-19 outbreak. As we provide assistance, we pray for the people of India, including its courageous healthcare workers.” The US administration further committed itself to provide necessary life-saving supplies and equipment to India to help the country in its fight against Covid-19.
But the belated decision to provide aid is not enough to erase the bitter memories caused by the big brotherly attitude of the US. Its ‘America first’ policy was against its own commitment to stand beside other nations in this hour of crisis. Despite promising to strengthen India’s pharmacy to manufacture a billion Covid vaccines by the end of 2022, US administration strangely backtracked by announcing that the country would use all resources to protect Americans, before helping other nations to ward of the crisis, despite making the promise from the four-nation platform Quadrilateral Security Dialogue (Quad). Interestingly, the Quad members, i.e. India, Japan, Australia and the US agreed to help each other in wake of China’s decision to shut itself after the first wave of the pandemic leaving the world badly in need of an alternate global supply chain not dependent on the whims and fancies of a particular nation. But by doing exactly the opposite, US deliberately disrupted the proposed global supply chain.
The baffling stand taken by the US was widely condemned. On its part, New Delhi politely reminded the US that it was India which airlifted medicines to the US after receiving SOS from former president Donald Trump. While the US administration was resisting export of raw materials required for manufacturing Corona vaccines, India’s stand was clear. New Delhi categorically stated that India stood by the world and now it was time for the world to stand by India. The stand exposed that the US prefers unequal relationships, however as most nations came forward to denounce the stand taken by the US, India got unexpected support including support from US citizens as well. Finally, Biden had to succumb to pressure from both home and abroad.
This is not the first time that the US has let down other nations. There are a number of examples when nations had to pay a heavy price for believing in Washington. Be it regarding terrorism or the pandemic, US always wants to protect its own interest above everything else. Such short sightedness is not conducive for creating a world free from discrimination and neglect. It is hoped that a seasoned statesman like Joe Biden will understand the reality soon and stand beside the rest of the world to get rid of the crisis.