External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar embarked a five day visit to the United States. The visit held a lot of importance not only because this was the first high level meeting from Indian Side after the appointment of Joe Biden as the President but also because it came during the pandemic. The bilateral relationship between US-India has only grown stronger than before especially with the visits of Defence Secretary Lloyd Austin and Climate Envoy John Kerry to India.
The agenda of the visit will although cover all the aspects of the bilateral relationship but highest priority will be given to health cooperation.US has already helped India with around $100 million worth of Covid relief assistance including Oxygen plants, concentrators and raw material for vaccine manufacturer serum Institute of India (SII). As the visit comes forward, India is hoping to get full support of the Biden administration, as they announced it will distribute 80 million vaccines to countries that are in need of it.
What comes as a major lesson from Covid-19 is the importance of countries to come together to have better and stronger health diplomacy. India-US support to India for TRIPS waiver at the World Trade Organisation (WTO), it becomes clear that US will be supporting India’s efforts and help countries in need. As India has stopped the export of vaccines to the other countries, reluctantly they have turned to china for help. But on the other hand countries like Japan, Australia and US have already started to world towards helping and managing the situation globally.
India under the Global Distribution Strategy soon will receive Covid Vaccines. United States recently announced the donation of 500 million doses of the Pfizer Covid-19 vaccine to the world’s poorest countries to end Covid-19 whereas about 7 million doses of vaccine will be sent to Asian countries like India, Nepal, Bangladesh, Pakistan and Sri Lanka.
US State Department Coordinator for Global COVID response, Gayle Smith in an exclusive interview with ANI mentioned that “India will be a central and key partner”, stressing on US-Indo partnership in the Quad Vaccine Initiative.
The second wave of Covid-19 has hit India badly yet it has somehow managed to slow it down now but its effects and need for vaccine can’t be seen to slow any time sooner. In the starting of the wave, although Biden administration kept quiet but now it has come forward in supporting India stronger than ever. With the US-Indo ties flourishing, the new dynamics of their relationship will only lead to growth and development for the better future.