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The Biden administration recently announced investments and aid for vaccine production in support of India. However, the American response aroused opportunism in Beijing, where media outlets sympathetic to the Chinese Communist Party regime launched a series of attacks on the American government for not sharing vaccines that the U.S. has stockpiled.
“In order to curb the spread of this virus internationally and to protect public health and our international economy, we need to get these vaccines out the door now,” the congressman added.
In recent months, India has been inclined to support Washington in the bid to combat China’s advance as they have been the victims of military and cyberattacks by the communist giant.
Severe crisis in India
The lack of oxygen tanks in hospitals has worsened the pandemic in the country. The situation attracted international attention, and UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson, who canceled his visit to Delhi, said that “we will continue to work closely with the Indian government during this difficult time and I’m determined to make sure that the UK does everything it can to support the international community in the global fight against the pandemic.”
Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison said on Twitter that his government is currently working with the Indian government to identify new sources of aid. The two countries, along with America and Japan, are part of the Quadrilateral Security Dialogue or Quad alliance, which has pledged to supply one billion doses of India’s production of Covid-19 vaccine across Asia.
Modi vs. Twitter
The Indian government relaxed pandemic precautions amid election polls and religious festivities.
Blaming Prime Minister Narendra Modi and other local politicians, critics have pointed to rallies of thousands of people in stadiums and enclosed spaces as the cause of the brutal second wave of infections facing India.
Several cities have ordered curfews, while police have been deployed to enforce social distancing and masks mandate.
However, despite the crisis, the polls are still on track and more than 8 million people are expected to turn out to vote in the final local rounds.
Modi’s government asked Twitter to remove messages from politicians and the press criticizing his team’s mismanagement of the pandemic, as well as the rivalry between regions that have prevented the proper supply of oxygen in India.
Asian markets plunge due to second wave of Covid-19
Investors in Asia, led by Japan and India, are reacting with trepidation due to the rise in coronavirus cases in many parts of the region, as new blocking measures threaten corporate profits and economic recovery.
“The second wave of COVID infections in pockets of Asia seems more ferocious than the first. India and Thailand seem particularly at risk,” said Manishi Raychaudhuri, head of equity research for Asia-Pacific at BNP Paribas in Hong Kong,” Manishi Raychaudhuri, head of equity research for Asia-Pacific at BNP Paribas in Hong Kong told Nikkei Asia.
India’s benchmark BSE Sensex index is down more than 4% during April. Gains made earlier in the year were hit by the second wave hitting the country of more than 1.3 billion people.
Japan announced a state of emergency in some of its regions in the run-up to the Olympic Games. The Tokyo Stock Exchange fell more than 2% at the end of March and recovered thanks to American economic stabilization and “a reissue of the state of emergency in the country” reported Bloomberg.
Asia reacted quickly to the pandemic at the beginning of 2020, achieving stability in investments and projecting tourist openings such as that of Hong Kong with Singapore.
The tragedy in India and the emergency in Japan, Washington’s two great allies in the Indo-Pacific region, raise fears about the Democratic administration’s commitment to support its allies.
Camilo Bello is a consultant focused on Asia Pacific studies and has experience in strategic management. He has studied law in Colombia and is currently pursuing studies in language and history at National Taiwan Normal University. He has collaborated with Students for Freedom in Hong Kong and Taiwan // Camilo es consultor enfocado en estudios de Asia Pacífico y experiencia en gestión estratégica. Cuenta con estudios en Derecho en Colombia y actualmente se encuentra realizando estudios en lenguaje e historia en National Taiwan Normal University. Colaborador de Estudiantes por la Libertad en Hong Kong y Taiwán