It is humbling when a columnist must retract his words soon after penning them. Just two months ago, after India rushed millions of doses of COVID-19 vaccines to over 60 countries, I praised the country’s “vaccine diplomacy.”

India’s aspirations to be recognized as a global power had been given a real boost. Now, with more than 300,000 new cases a day and the death toll evidently much higher than reported, India is no one’s idea of a global leader.

In my own defense, I was worried that India had exported three times as many vaccines as it had administered domestically. The country was clearly lagging behind its own target of immunizing 400 million people by August, after vaccinating some 3 million health care workers in a campaign that began only on Jan. 16. “[M]ounting concern about rising case numbers, the emergence of COVID-19 variants that may not respond to existing vaccines, and an economy that has not yet fully recovered,” I noted, “will intensify the challenge India confronts in fulfilling its obligations to developing countries while also meeting domestic demand.”