Monday, March 20, 2023
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US, Australia, Japan target China on Covid-19. Should India join or act in self-interest?

US allies Japan and Australia, it appears, have joined ranks to call out and penalise China for its inaction with regard to the Covid-19 pandemic.

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With deaths in the US crossing the 20,000-mark, China is starting to feel the heat on its handling of the coronavirus crisis. US allies Japan and Australia, it appears, have joined ranks to call out and penalise China for its inaction. While Australian lawmakers have attacked Beijing for “failing to contain the coronavirus” an Australian newspaper published a rebuttal to the Chinese consul-general’s criticism of its coverage of the epidemic. Japan has allocated $2.2 billion to help its manufacturers shift production out of China, signaling a shift in relations.

ThePrint asks: US, Australia, Japan target China on Covid-19. Should India join or act in self-interest?

Battle against coronavirus is a priority; India should take cautious position on China

Kanwal Sibal
Executive council member, VIF, and former foreign secretary

China needs to be targeted as the source of the virus. It cannot disown its responsibility by seeking to change the narrative under our very eyes about its origin. China has to be called to account.

China has the capacity to resist as the world’s second-largest economy that controls supply chains and can provide much needed equipment to meet the immediate needs of afflicted countries. But, it will pay a price later on with the production of critical items in all fields progressively shifting out of China.

The UN Security Council has failed to address the crisis because of US-China differences. With US and Europe divided over affirming the virus’ China connection, Australia and Japan have shown solidarity with the former. India, as part of the Quad, could face pressure to join but it should be cautious in its public position at this stage, and prioritise its own battle against the virus. It cannot immediately disengage itself from China because of health sector links with it. Its self-interest requires pressure on China, which it can apply by seeking transparency about the source of the pandemic and emphasising the need for sharing all data that would help control it.

India doesn’t have to get involved in anti-China campaign but no harm in demanding transparency

Arun Singh
Former Indian ambassador to the US

Clearly the processes and decisions that were adopted in China, particularly lack of transparency and silencing of those who wanted to share information, had an impact on the global spread of the Covid-19 pandemic. In a globalised world, given today’s levels of technology and communication — with supply chains, trade and investment having a strong link to China — it is critical that there is transparency in Chinese processes. The rest of the world can legitimately raise these issues because everyone bears the impact.

Chinese trade and investment in India have been growing but China has not been particularly helpful to India on political issues, be it in terms of India’s permanent membership of the Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG) or raising issues at the UN Security Council. At the same time, there has been some cooperation from China in dealing with the Covid-19 crisis, including provision of PPE, as well as APIs for our generics manufacturers.

While India doesn’t have to get involved in an anti-China campaign, there is no harm in emphasising the need for greater transparency.

India should support Quad partners to ensure China doesn’t shift blame for Covid-19 on to others

Rajesh Rajagopalan
Professor of International Politics, JNU

It is in India’s interest to join its Quad partners against China as the Chinese government bears the sole responsibility for the coronavirus disaster we are facing right now. While all countries make mistakes, what China did is that it actively covered up the outbreak of Covid-19 and allowed it to become a worldwide pandemic, showing utter disregard to the safety of the rest of the world. It actively colluded with the WHO to suppress information that could have helped others in dealing with the crisis earlier. And once the pandemic spread, the Chinese communist government actively engaged in an unbelievably crass effort to shift the blame to others.

In addition, Beijing has attempted to use the crisis to strengthen its regional and global political and military interest. India needs to stand with its Quad partners because it is in the interest of all Quad countries that China’s efforts to absolve itself of responsibility for this disaster, shift blame to others, and use this crisis to gain an advantage is countered. It is in India’s national interest to ensure that China does not shift blame for Covid-19 crisis and that the Quad cooperation is enhanced.

It isn’t the time for India to play its cards against China, but wait for discussion to happen at UNSC

Nayanima Basu
Senior Associate Editor, ThePrint

While the pandemic has wreaked havoc around the world, New Delhi should take a cautious approach when acting against China. This is certainly not the time for India to play its cards even though the clamour against cornering Beijing is growing louder by the day. The proper platform to discuss and debate the issue will be the UN Security Council, but countries are still contemplating on that and passing a resolution seems like a far-fetched dream.

India recently took efforts to hold a videoconference with SAARC leaders to discuss ways of tackling the pandemic. It was due to India’s efforts that the first virtual G20 summit happened where leaders discussed the Covid-19 crisis. India was also party to the last two meetings of the ‘Quad Plus’, which included the US, Japan and Australia, but it did not say much on China.

It will be imperative for India to take a strategic approach on this issue as New Delhi and Beijing have robust diplomatic ties. India has been sending medical supplies to China and also receiving critical supplies from them to fight the present situation. India also imports a number of APIs from China that helps India export critical drugs like hydroxychloroquine and paracetamol.

Also read: Can India balance its domestic pharma needs and also be a global player in Covid-19 fight?

By Pia Krishnankutty, journalist at ThePrint

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  1. China by its nefarious act of spreading covid 19 all over the world causing huge economic loss and human suffering has shown its real face of the DRAGAN. The world community needs to act and make the culprit accountable .

  2. China by its nefarious act of spreading covid 19 all over the world causing huge economic loss and human suffering has shown its real face of the DRAGAN. The world community needs to act and make the culprit account accountable

  3. Too long rope has been given to China. Nehru belived China to get ditched. China is quite huge in size, still tries to grab lands of all surrounding nations. Every nighbourer of China is perturbed. You make it more and more powerful only to be bitten at a later stage, when it becomes unmanageable. Taiwan helped China tremendously for its economic growth. Many businessman settled in China and married Chinese women. China, after becoming powerful, created all kinds of problems for Taiwan. Most of Taiwanes have now closed and returned to Taiwan.

    With Kissinger and Nixon duo initiative, USA established relationship with China and paved way for huge economic growth. Now, thry are repenting.

    India helped China to become permanent security council member of UN. When, it was the turn of China to help India to become a member, it has blocked it with all its might at its disposal. It is also blocking India’s way to become NSG member. It helps Pakistan in every way to destabilise India. China encourages Naxalite movement in India. It is always working against Indian interests.

    This is high time. The whole word except very few, is against China. China has brought hundreds of mighty nations to their knees. These countries have incurred losses both in terms of money and life. Their condoning China shall be to their own peril. World will survive only if might of China is reduces drastically. India should join them. India shall lose nothing but menance created by China for it.

  4. PM Modi must address the nation about good news as the Holy Month of Ramazan coming soon when the Covid-19 at its peak. The month of Ramazan can give relief not only to India but to the world because Ramazan chosen to be the best month by One Almighty God with full of Blessings and Mercies. In Ramazan, Gates of paradise are opened, Gates of Hell are closed and the devils are chained up. What better time than any to draw closer to God than in the most blessed month of Ramazan when Almighty God makes it easy for us to do good actions so that we may draw closer to Him especially at a time of greatest need to get rid of virus with God’s will. As fasting in Ramazan is obligatory to all Muslims every year, it is not only a ritual to refrain from eating and drinking from dawn to dusk but It is an act of worship to get closer to God spiritually with dedication and to feel the hunger of the hungry and the poor who cannot afford to eat their daily bread and to help them to fulfill their needs with alms and charity.
    Since the fasting is also practiced and observed by people of other religions besides Islam, therefore the people of all religions must join together to fast in Ramazan to make it an unprecedented and unique way to show the unity and solidarity to our One Almighty God by people of all religions by fasting and praying for common cause to get the virus eradicated from this earth with God’s will.
    All the Muslims and non-Muslims get this rare opportunity to come together as never before to turn a new leaf to get success in this world and Hereafter. In order to get fully prepared, the first thing we all need to do is to fulfill ALL of our obligatory duties and abstain from that which Allah and his last messenger have forbidden us from, which everyone can find from internet as the last messenger is mentioned in holy scriptures of all major religions. In this most blessed month of Ramazan all good deeds are multiplied. The arrival of Ramazan at a time of calamity gives a very good chance and relief to the entire world to take full advantage of the Blessings and Mercies of Ramazan to call One Almighty God because the same One God belongs to all. It is imperative for everyone to call upon our One Almighty God without joining any partners, demigods, idols or anything beside Him because it is against the holy scriptures of Hinduism, Islam, Christianity, Sikhism, Judaism. Now, just imagine when the billions of believers in the world prostrate and grovel to One God by praying with fasting, certainly have a massive impact to be answered by One Almighty God as we supplicate with one voice with tears in our eyes to repent for the sins due to ignorance and negligence and to prevent and cure all from Covid-19 and eradicate it soonest. With that, we all hope One Almighty God will do the rest to eradicate the deadly virus with His will. He is All Hearing, All Seeing, All Knowing, the Bestower and there is no might nor any power except with One Almighty God.

  5. India can point out facts and timelines. But there is absolutely no need to rave and rant, as some other top leaders are doing right now. Those who are glad for our support now will be the first to let us down, when this is all done and they will then need China more than India.

    • This is absolutely true. We must think wisely. Other countries have buffer resources to pull out dependency on China. We do not.

  6. Let the Govt acts as per the required diplomacy, but people are vexed with China and the people will show what is the power in their hands.

  7. America has the habit of running away from protracted battles that affect its own economy and politics. South Vietnam-Afghanistan-South Korea etc. are just big examples. India should join the quad to provide security and economic cooperation for friendly South East Asian countries like Thailand, Vietnam, Cambodia etc.

  8. At present , the whole world is going to flip upside down. India should just concentrate to rebuild its economies and infrastructures. Once we are self sufficient then we can punish the wrong doer. Now is not the time.

  9. China and Pak have always created problems for India. China is acting like real time enemy of India. India should not loose the opportunity to punish China if it can be done.

  10. am not a Chinese myself, but I feel sympathetic with China on this. Corona is a strange new thing which wasn’t known to anyone. Locusts are a very well known entity ; if a locust attack happens on your crop, can you blame your neighboring farmer for it? If the poor guy says that even he suffered from them sometime back, will you insist, “No, I saw them coming from your direction?”

  11. President Trump bullied us to export HCQ. Anti body testing kits ordered by Tamil Nadu from China have been diverted to America. India should always act in its enlightened, long term national interest. Something we always did, even when poorer and less powerful. Being a camp follower does not meet that standard. We have enough issues with China, not to get into a polemical slugfest. The period of national lockdown has shown up a level of human deprivation and suffering that should pierce the most numb conscience.

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