Altogether a dozen countries have come forward to help India. This is undoubtedly owing to the goodwill developed by the Modi regime, especially since 2020 once the COVID-19 crisis had taken a toll in the western world.
The US agreed to withdraw the ban on ‘import’ of raw materials for the manufacture of related medical items. The government faced flak and even was mocked for sending vaccines overseas - including both export and as gifts - all these have now paid off.
However, the ‘China angle’ of help during the pandemic season needs closer scrutiny for more reasons than one. Of course, the Government of India was not counting much on Beijing either. It has again been proved that its words were the opposite of its actions on the ground.
Leading Chinese airline company Sichuan Airlines has suspended all-cargo flights to India. These aircraft were supposed to get medical supplies, oxygen concentrators and other items. There was another typical tricky game.
The Chinese manufacturing companies were trying to garner larger shares of the profit even during these devastating times confronting India. Hope’ Chinese sympathisers’ in India take a relook at their policy!
Prices of certain medical items were quickly increased, and freight charges were also jacked up by about 20 per cent. Why?
In 2020, if our memory serves right - China had supplied India with faulty testing kits. After the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) asked all states to ‘stop using rapid testing kits imported from two Chinese companies’, Ji Rong, spokesperson and Counselor of the Chinese Embassy in India, has said China is “deeply concerned” with the evaluation results and the ICMR decision.
Some states had raised issues regarding the performance of rapid antibody test kits procured from Guangzhou Wondfo Biotech and Zhuhai Livzon Diagnostics as results have shown “wide variation”.
From Singapore, within hours of the crisis, four cryogenic Oxygen tanks were airlifted. Saudi Arabia showed a special gesture and also sent 80 metric tonnes of liquid oxygen.
Assistance came from the US, France, Denmark, Australia, Britain also poured in. Afghanistan and Bhutan also extended support.
“We stand side by side with India in the shared fight against COVID-19. British Prime Minister Boris Johnson has tweeted.
The prophets of doom again got it on their nose. Despite initial hiccups, now the global support, including from certain ‘unexpected’ quarters, have come in, proving for once that Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s ‘Vaccine Maitri’ has yielded dividends.
Saudi Arabia was one such country. The world’s tallest building, Burj Khalifa, in Dubai and the Adnoc headquarters in Abu Dhabi were lit up with the Indian flag as well as the message “Stay Strong India” on April 25, Sunday night.
“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,” tweeted US President Joe Biden.
In all these, German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s shift of stance is a classic case. Two days back, she had warned India and even wanted Europe to rethink medical supplies from India if New Delhi failed to export due to its own crisis. But on Sunday, she promised a ‘mission of support’. “To the people of India, I want to express my sympathy for the terrible suffering that COVID-19 has again brought over your communities,” Merkel said.