New Delhi: As the devastating second wave of the Covid-19 pandemic continues to overwhelm the healthcare infrastructure across India, a group of academicians affiliated to leading think tanks have urged the US to ease the global vaccine supply chain Friday.
In a long commentary aimed at President Joe Biden, the academicians from five prominent Indian think tanks pleaded for the US administration to “consider exceptions” to the Defense Production Act of 1950, under which Washington has halted the export of raw materials critical for the production of Covid vaccines.
The commentary was jointly written by Arvind Gupta, director of the Vivekananda International Foundation, Rudra Chaudhuri, director of Carnegie India, Harsh Pant director of studies and the head of the Strategic Studies Programme at the Observer Research Foundation, Reuben Abraham, CEO of the IDFC Foundation and IDFC Institute, and Nitin Pai, co-founder and director of the Takshashila Institution.
The DPA was first invoked by former US president Donald Trump in 2020 with the outbreak of the pandemic and Biden is now continuing it.
‘Request US to uphold values of true internationalism’
According to the five academicians, an exception to the DPA will save lives not only in India but in other countries as well.
“India is a partner of the United States like none other. Today, it is a country in need of a more supportive American approach to supply chains. This is a request to the United States administration to seriously, urgently, and actively consider exceptions to the DPA. Such an action will, in time, not only save lives in India and other large parts of the world that have been reliant on vaccines manufactured in India, but will also reassure the world’s largest democracy of the promise of a truly global America,” the note stated.
They also noted that President Biden should “urgently” resort to upholding the values of “true internationalism that he and his administration hail as a global promise for the future”.
“The United States has adequate supplies and more. It is now time to relax the prioritization measures and products that fall under the purview of the DPA,” the academicians said.
They added that while India and many other countries have become protectionist in the interest of their own citizenry, they have not shied away from “making exceptions in times of national emergencies”.
(Edited by Rachel John)