Only a few months ago, columnist Brahma Chellaney was lauding India’s channeling of its manufacturing heft into humanitarian diplomacy, as it supplied free vaccines to countries in its extended neighborhood.
Now, with COVID-19 deaths in India averaging thousands a day, the global media is awash with images of funeral pyres, dead bodies and other scenes that, Chellaney argues, generally wouldn’t be shown following a similar disaster in a Western country.
With the world’s biggest vaccine maker now curbing vaccine exports to meet surging domestic demand, the inoculation plans of dozens of developing countries from Africa to Asia have been thrown into disarray, the Thomson Reuters Foundation reports.
Tokyo has offered $50 million in extra aid, along with oxygen concentrators and respirators, to New Delhi. Meanwhile, Japanese firms invested in India, such as Suzuki, are suffering, reports Kazuaki Nagata — another reminder of how interconnected today’s global economy is.
Viruses are indifferent to borders and politics. We need to be, too, to beat this thing, writes the JT Editorial Board.
The emergence of a dangerous coronavirus variant in India that is spreading worldwide exemplifies this point. But every vaccination brings normalcy nearer, and while waiving vaccine patent rights is no panacea, it would help, argues the board.