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India stands out through evidence-based action that it is aiding countries debilitated by the pandemic. Richer nations can no longer look to ignore the plight of poorer countries in the fight against the pandemic. The economic fallout from this could be enormous.
In a multipolar world problems affecting one nation can no longer be ignored in the larger context as it could influence the policies of other countries.
A study, which went public, therefore concludes that the richer nations need to be more aware, while ensuring that their population are vaccinated against the Covid-19 infection, that they do not ignore the plight of poorer countries who may find themselves shut out of the Covid-19 vaccination programme. It all boils down to the interconnected nature of global economic recovery.
Commissioned by the International Chamber of Commerce, the study concludes that equitable distribution of vaccines is in every country’s economic interest, especially those that depend most on trade. It negates the theory that making vaccines available to poorer countries is a charitable act at best. The economic consequences of holding such a belief could have serious consequences to the global economy.
To be precise it could be a $9 trillion impact to the global economy thus affecting everyone. Economies that are progressive may end up collecting a bill amounting to nearly $2.4 trillion in losses – which translates into roughly 3.5 percent of their annual gross global domestic product before the pandemic thanks to disturbances in global trade and supply chains. In short, no one is safe till everyone is safe.
It is incumbent therefore for world leaders to stand up and be counted in these trying times as they have a global accountability. India for instance, under the stewardship of Prime Minister Narendra Modi has issued a statement of intent, followed by evidence-based action, that it would come to the assistance of countries that are in dire need of the Covid-19 vaccine.
It is part of New Delhi’s global outreach, which was also seen during the early stages of the pandemic when large consignments of pharmaceutical products, drugs and equipment were shipped to parts of the world to help fight the pandemic while India battled sky high infection rates and a national lockdown which affected the economy.
The government cleared the first commercial exports of Covid-19 vaccines last week with consignments due to be shipped to Brazil, which is fighting off high infection rates, and Morocco from where it has received orders for the shots developed by the UK-based drugmaker AstraZeneca and Oxford University manufactured at the Serum Institute of India. Shipments to South Africa and Saudi Arabia were being queued up for movement as well.
Earlier, the Indian government had dispatched doses to neighbouring Bhutan, Maldives, Bangladesh and Nepal. Shipments to Sri Lanka, Afghanistan and Mauritius were undergoing due process in terms of clearances. India even stole a march on China by providing Myanmar with 1.5 million doses of the vaccine to inoculate 750,000 citizens. The government’s timely actions have drawn admiration and praise from the global community, while casting a shadow over Beijing’s presence in the region.
New Delhi was seen to be getting off the blocks quicker than Beijing, who had also promised to come to the aid of Myanmar by reportedly committing to 300,000 doses. Summing up the simple and effective accomplishment Saurabh Kumar, India’s Ambassador to Myanmar, said, “This is a gift from India to Myanmar.”
According to a statement made by Harsh Vardhan Shringla, which fell in line with India’s philosophy of Make in India, Make for the World, production capacities would be used for all of humanity to fight against the pandemic. “The Pharmacy of the World will deliver to overcome the COVID challenge,” Indian Foreign Minister S Jaishankar stated on Twitter.
The declaration held no ambiguity whatsoever.