India’s role in an atmosphere of tension

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By: Dr. Satyavan Saurabh

Every day, something new is involved in the verbal war between the United States, China, and the World Health Organization. Taking this fight further, US President Donald Trump wrote a warning letter to the World Health Organization chief, but he got the answer from China. The Chinese Foreign Ministry described Trump’s letter as being full of ‘signs, maybe, but but’ and also said that the US is using such tactics to mislead the public. Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian commented on Donald Trump’s letter, saying, “The US is making China an issue to limit its responsibility and to negotiate its international obligations to the World Health Organization.” But America has chosen the wrong target ‘.WHO

The Corona epidemic has wreaked havoc in America. The US has become the focal point of the coronavirus, with over 99,805 deaths and more than 1.7 million infected patients. President Trump is blaming China and the World Health Organization for this recent situation in America. He has also stopped funding of the World Health Organization for the time being. On the same issue, Donald Trump has also written a letter to the World Health Organization chief, which has also targeted China. But the Chinese Foreign Ministry said that the Trump administration is working to destroy China’s efforts to create anti-virus. Has been and is blaming him for hiding his failure to deal with Corona.

Donald Trump, in a letter to World Health Organization Director-General Tedros Edholm, has clarified that if the World Health Organization does not improve its functioning in 30 days, the funding it receives from the US will be permanently stopped. It is further written in the letter, ‘It is clear that repeated steps have been taken by you and your organization in dealing with the epidemic, which has to bear the brunt of the whole world. The only way for the World Health Organization to move forward is to prove its independence from China’. The biggest accusation on the World Health Organization is that it did not consciously warn the world about the corona epidemic and as a result, almost all countries were hit by this epidemic and someone beforehand to protect could not prepare. There is also the allegation that the World Health Organization did this under pressure from China, but whatever happens, the investigation will be done and the reality will be expected, but now the big question is how tough will this investigation be? Who will participate actively in this and who will be behind the scenes? However, it is not hidden from anyone that the siege of the World Health Organization is the result of the battle of two powerful countries of the world. The way the two countries can go to any extent concerning the long-standing trade-off between China and the United States, America aims to surround China through the World Health Organization.

At this time the responsible nations of the world will have to move away from the politics and tension of the two countries and make such efforts that the World Health Organization does not face any harm. The World Health Organization is a prudential organization whose work is to help all the countries, especially developing and poor countries, in campaigns related to basic services. But the way this organization has come into controversy, the biggest difficulty will be that now most of the countries will look at this institution with suspicion. In such a situation, the World Health Organization has taken the right step by deciding to conduct an investigation.

India has a big responsibility at this time, at a time when the situation is uneven and a controversial phase is going on in the history of the World Health Organization. At this time India will have to face adverse political and diplomatic situations. There is no doubt that America and China will target each other fiercely. This is currently happening on two issues. The first is related to Taiwan’s participation in the World Health Organization, while the second is the US’s objection to the organization’s handling of Covid-19 and China’s support.

The US and some European countries are strongly advocating the granting of Observer status to Taiwan, but China is opposing it, as the current Taiwanese government does not accept the principle of ‘one China’. Since humanity is under threat from this epidemic, India has to advocate for keeping politics away from it and find a way that Taiwan continues to attend the WHO meeting. This work is possible only with creative diplomacy, and India will have to play a leading role in it. It can request China and Taiwan, and both of these supporting countries, to take a flexible approach.

The question is also what should India take on the controversy over the World Health Organization’s negligence in dealing with Covid-19 and not seriously investigating China’s claims? The organization and its chief Tedros must not have praised China’s efforts against Covid-19. Such is not expected from a professional organization. One view is that China did not tell the world about it at the right time.  Corona’s destruction could have been prevented if China shown seriousness.

This has resulted in strained relations between the US and China, as US President Donald Trump has accused Beijing of adopting an irresponsible attitude and hiding the truth about the virus. Trump also encircles the WHO on becoming a puppet of China and withholding all financial support from the US. This is not a good decision. So India’s challenge is also how will it deal with this problem?

It would be better if India makes a consensus on a proposal by independent experts to investigate the whole matter. These experts should find out whether the organization acted to the best of its ability or was influenced by someone. Given that the US and China have made it a matter of national respect, persuading these two countries for an independent investigation is not an easy task. But the real test of Indian diplomacy will be in this.

However, India is the largest country in South Asia with a population that matches China and, being a large economy, is well suited to take a central role in rebuilding its neighborhood. At present, it is in America’s interest to enable this Indian challenge for China. India will now have to take a step forward by assessing its profit and loss properly because this is the time that will decide the future of India. (The writer is a Research Scholar in Political Science, University of Delhi. He is also a Poet, independent journalist and columnist)

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