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India rises to the occasion in world war to defeat Covid-19

India rises to the occasion in world war to defeat Covid-19

India has risen to the occasion in the war against the deadly coronavirus pandemic by not only launching the world’s biggest inoculation campaign in the country but also with the production of affordable and easy-to-handle vaccines for which demand is pouring in from Latin America, Africa, Asia and some east European countries.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi had stated in his address at the UN General Assembly that India as the largest vaccine manufacturer in the world would use its “vaccine production and delivery capacity to help all humanity in fighting the coronavirus crisis.”

With the first batch of vaccines set to be despatched to Brazil, a country which has lost over 2 lakh lives to the pandemic, the second largest number in the world after the USA, India is taking the first step to redeem its pledge. The country has also assured its neighbours Nepal, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka that it would cater to their needs on a priority basis.

India has been working constructively to use its capacities to help humankind fight the devastating disease that was triggered from Wuhan in China. Interestingly, India’s role comes out in sharp contrast to that of its hostile neighbour China, which was responsible for the origin and spread of the highly contagious disease that has brought unprecedented death and devastation in the world. Beijing has come under strong criticism worldwide for hiding facts about the highly contagious disease which led to more deaths and suffering than otherwise would have been the case.

China followed this up by gloating about how it had succeeded in bringing the pandemic under control and launched a dubious vaccine diplomacy to push its influence in other countries including the ASEAN members, South Asia and Brazil.

Most countries including Brazil, however, have seen through authoritarian China’s game and have now turned to democratic India for vaccines. They have had a bad experience with the Chinese vaccine offer as there was too much secrecy over the data pertaining to safety and efficacy. Apart from this, the offer had strings attached to help Beijing push its dominance.

While India has launched its immunisation drive with two locally-made vaccines some more vaccines including Sputnik V which is being developed with Russian assistance are expected to be rolled out soon. This will increase the capacity to fight back the dreaded pandemic both in India and other countries to which these vaccines will be exported.

Ultimately if the dreaded coronavirus has to be defeated, the vaccination campaign has to be carried out worldwide and this includes poorer nations. It is here that the Indian vaccines will count as they will be rolled out at much cheaper prices than those at which multinational giants like Pfizer, BioNtech and Moderna are marketing their vaccines. Indian vaccines can also be distributed more easily as they can be stored in ordinary refrigerators at 2 to 8 degrees Celsius. This is quite unlike the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines which require expensive deep-freeze chains for storage at -70 degrees Celsius