On Day 95, Biden announced a Coronavirus aid pledge to India—after criticism of his 72 hours of silence jolts U.S. to action.
Too Little, Too Late.
Biden spoke with Indian prime minister Narendra Modi last Sunday, underscoring a pledge of emergency assistance to India in fighting COVID-19, just days after the U.S. defended its inaction as India surged past record infection rates. India logged almost one million new COVID-19 – mostly variant-related – cases in a deadly three-day surge the previous week.
Amid the surge, the Biden regime had maintained it would not be sending much-needed vaccine production supplies to India. As recently as last Friday, the Biden State Department had defended U.S. restrictions on exports of key production materials, while China doubled down on its offers to help buoy India—and drive a wedge between the two partners.
The Times of India reported that: “Chinese state media has run riot in the past few days over the Covid situation in India, even accusing the Indian government of playing geopolitical games in the middle of the pandemic and claiming US and other western countries were not helping India.”
The following Sunday, a readout of a call between the two nations’ national security advisors noted:
“Just as India sent assistance to the United States as our hospitals were strained early in the pandemic, the United States is determined to help India in its time of need.”
The statement announced the U.S. would, after all, export certain raw materials required for the manufacture of the Covishield vaccine, as well as therapeutics, testing kits, ventilators, and PPE. The U.S. Development Finance Corporation will be funding an expansion of India’s vaccine manufacturing capacity, public health advisors from the CDC and USAID will deploy to India to work in coordination with the U.S. Embassy and India’s health ministry, and the U.S. will pursue options to help India address its critical oxygen shortage.
“The US President conspicuously invoked New Delhi’s help to the US during America’s own crisis after his administration was trolled relentlessly for ingratitude, given [India’s] exertions in providing therapeutics and vaccines for the US and many other countries at a time it (India) thought it had the domestic situation under control,” the Times of India wrote in its coverage of the Biden-Modi call.
Just as India sent assistance to the United States as our hospitals were strained early in the pandemic, we are determined to help India in its time of need. https://t.co/SzWRj0eP3y
— President Biden (@POTUS) April 25, 2021
India has been the world’s biggest vaccine exporter until now, and the United States’ participation in the Quad alliance vaccine diplomacy effort—an effort to outflank China’s influence in Asia—relies on India’s surplus vaccine production capacity.
“Much of the rest of the world’s vaccine rollouts will be slowed if doses ordered from India suppliers don’t arrive as expected,” Politico’s “Global Transitions” newsletter reported.
Additionally, “Failure to quickly help India would increase pressure on the U.S. to waive the intellectual property (IP) rights of American vaccine makers, and risk the outright theft of the IP as desperate governments take desperate measures.”
The statement from Biden’s national security advisor notably did not include an offer to actually send vaccines to India. The United States has stockpiled tens of millions of AstraZeneca vaccines which have not yet received emergency use authorization form the FDA.
About 4 million of the AstraZeneca vaccines were loaned to Canada and Mexico in March, but the rest remain in storage, and U.S. health officials have already acknowledged that the United States probably won’t need to use them even if they are approved. The U.S. Chamber of Commerce has urged the Biden Administration to release the surplus vaccines.