India produces an average of 70-80 million doses of vaccines every month. This can be ramped up significantly if the supply chain bottlenecks that currently hobble production are removed. Indian missions across the world, especially in Europe and Japan are frantically searching for reliable suppliers who can ship vaccine components in the quickest possible time.
It is to obviate these supply chain constraints that India, South Africa and 60 other members of the WTO have co-sponsored a resolution seeking a complete waiver from patents of various Covid-related vaccines, medicines, diagnostics, therapeutics, medical devices and other health technologies.
With the US on board only for a waiver on vaccines and China likely to back this demand, the issue can take on a strategic dimension. If the EU, Japan and other countries continue to oppose this initiative, they will lose their moral authority to lecture the world on human rights. Then, they will lose considerable goodwill and leverage in India. And if China throws its weight behind this proposal, it could hand China a major diplomatic victory and increase its influence in many parts of the world.