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US Supports India in Covid-Crisis

  • 27 Apr 2021
  • 5 min read

Why in News

Recently, the Prime Minister of India and US President had a telephone conversation with assurances exchanged on smoothening out issues related to supply chains for vaccines for Covid-19.

  • The telephone call came in the background of not just flagging supply chain issues with the US with regard to vaccines but also the lack of certain resources in India to fight the pandemic, as the country has been hit by exponentially rising cases and deaths.
  • Earlier in 2020, India and the US planned to work together on vaccine research and testing for Covid-19.

Key Points

  • Bilateral Discussion:
    • India discussed its initiative at the World Trade Organisation (WTO) for a relaxation in the norms of the agreement on Trade Related Aspects of Intellectual Property (TRIPS) to ensure quick and affordable access to vaccines and medicines for developing countries.
      • The 1995 agreement on TRIPS is a key legal instrument that harmonises Intellectual Property (IP) protection by imposing binding obligations on member countries to ensure a minimum level of protection and enforcement of IP rights in their territories.
      • IP rights could hinder the supply of vaccines and drugs at affordable prices.
    • India also mentioned its commitment to contain the Covid-19 pandemic globally through Vaccine Maitri, and its participation in COVAX and the Quad Vaccine Initiatives.
    • Both discussed the Covid-19 situation in their respective countries, including India’s ongoing efforts to contain the second wave of Covid-19 through expedited vaccination efforts, and ensuring supply of critical medicines, therapeutics and health care equipment.
    • Recent Developments in the Relations:
      • India-US ties were elevated to "comprehensive global strategic partnership" in 2020.
      • India and the US signed the Basic Exchange and Cooperation Agreement for Geo-Spatial Cooperation (BECA), with which the two countries have inked all the all four foundational agreements to bolster defence ties.
      • Among the many highlights are deepening government-to-government dialogues, shared vision of the Indo-Pacific, regional cooperation, defence and security ties, and ability to respond to unexpected challenges.
  • India’s Request:
    • Emphasized the need to ensure smooth and open supply chains of raw materials and inputs required for manufacture of vaccines, medicines, and therapeutics related to Covid-19.
    • Requested for supply of seven essential items that it needs on an urgent basis. These are oxygen concentrators, oxygen cylinders, oxygen generators, oxygen generation plants, remdesivir, favipiravir, and tocilizumab.
  • US’ Steps:
    • It has diverted its pending orders of vaccine filters to India’s vaccine manufacturers. It will help India make more vaccines.
    • It has identified sources of specific raw material urgently required for Indian manufacture of the Covishield vaccine that will immediately be made available for India.
  • Other Countries Helping India:
    • Singapore has donated four cryogenic oxygen tanks to India.
    • The United Kingdom has announced that it will ship over “600 pieces of vital medical equipment” to help India fight Covid19.
    • Australia has announced that it will send oxygen, ventilators and Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) kits to India as part of an immediate support package.
    • Saudi Arabia is shipping 80 metric tonnes of liquid oxygen to India.
    • Germany is preparing a “mission of support” for India.
    • Russia had also announced that it would send 3,00,000-4,00,000 units of Remdesivir injection. It is also planning to send Covid-19 assistance including oxygen concentrators, generators, and drugs needed to treat the disease.
    • China has also announced that it would provide support and help based on India’s needs.

Source: TH

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