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THE TURNING OF THE TABLES: EMERGENCE OF INDIA AS A SUPERPOWER DUE TO SUPPLY OF HYDROXYCHLOROQUINE

“A friend in need is a friend indeed.”
Although a colloquial idiom, history has been evidence to its relevance and applicability in framing the most significant international relations which shaped the path of history. The outbreak of COVID-19, a global pandemic brought in the wrath of gods to the world which had disastrous consequences which will reverberate for generations. However, every cloud has its silver lining. In these desperate times, India among like many other nations, stepped up to act for the welfare of the society by providing the Hydroxychloroquine. Considered as a benevolent move, appreciate by nations near and far might be a stepping point for India in its stand in the international community. This article analyses the geo-political impact of such a move on the comity of the nations by providing an in-depth analysis of the background, the response and the possible consequences of such a move.
Hydroxychloroquine – an introductory analysis
Hydroxychloroquine is a disease-modifying anti-rheumatic drug (DMARD). It controls the activity of the immune system, which may be overactive in some conditions.It is a less poisonous version of chloroquine, another malarial drug, which itself is related to quinine, an ingredient in the popular drink, tonic water. According to major medicinal research houses, It is considered to be an important drug in the medical fraternity which might act as a prospective cure or at least an ingredient to a cure of COVID 19. It is an antiviral, fairly inexpensive drug which is used by patients of lupus and rheumatoid arthritis. It has emerged as a controversial treatment therapy for COVID-19 pandemic. It is recommended as a preventive measure for all those individuals moving out of the quarantined containment zones for essential services and also for household members of Covid-19 infected patients.India has a prolific pharmaceutical industry which holds lion’s share of the hydroxychloroquine production market and manufactures 70% of the world’s supply. It is recommended as a preventive measure for all those individuals moving out of the quarantined containment zones for essential services and also for household members of Covid-19 infected patients.
HCQ as a cure of COVID-19: Evidentiary analysis
Some preliminary studies gave conflicting results. One lab-study suggested it restrained the virus’ ability to enter cells. Another report on eleven people found it didn’t improve how briskly patients cleared the virus or their symptoms. A report from China claimed the drug helped quite 100 patients at 10 hospitals, but that they had various degrees of illness and were treated with various doses and have recovered without the drug. It had been reported in China that fever, cough and pneumonia are increasing among thirty-one patients given Hydroxychloroquine compared to 31 others who didn’t get the drug. Four people developed a severe illness and everyone was within the group that didn’t get the drug. These results were posted online and haven’t been reviewed by other scientists or published in an established journal. Finally, the small study that, President Donald Trump touted as evidence of the drug’s benefit is publicized study in France where 40 coronavirus patients were given hydroxychloroquine, with more than half experiencing the clearing of their airways within 3 to 6 days. This apparent improvement is vital because it would curtail the timeframe within which infected people could spread Covid-19 to others.
Why is Donald Trump touting it?
Trump was influenced by a widely publicized study in France where forty coronavirus patients were given hydroxychloroquine, with more than half experiencing the clearing of their airways within three to six days.This apparent improvement is vital because it would curtail the timeframe during which infected people could spread COVID-19 to others. However, experts have warned that the study is small and lacks sufficient accuracy to be classed as evidence of a potential treatment. The behaviour of Donald Trump regarding the procurement of hydroxychloroquine can be reasonably classified as blatantly unacceptable and undiplomatic. He ought not to behave in such a rough way before India had made its stance clear.It is claimed that India lifted the ban due to the threat of retaliation by Trump. However, the practical scenario is completely different as the reason for lifting the ban was completely humanitarian and commercial rather than a consequence of coercion.  Addressing a press meet in the White House, Trump said that he would be surprised if India refused to supply these medicines. Threatening India for retaliation, Trump said that he had spoken to PM Modi on and if he did not allow it to come out, that would be okay, but of course there might be retaliation.India stopped the exports of the drug on March 25 and further made strict rules on April 4 to bar exports from special economic zones (SEZs).The exports were allowed only after a stock-taking by an empowered committee comprising representatives of the department of pharmaceuticals, the health and external affairs ministries, Indian Council of Medical Research, and the drug controller.
The emergence of India as the superpower for the neighbouring countries as the supplier of HCQ
Lyman Miller defined superpower as a nation that had an advantage within the four axes of power. In today’s world, in these difficult crises, India emerged as a helping line to many countries in the world and had the advantage of a superpower, due to the supply of an essential commodity. India along with it its soft power possess certain other characteristics which are considered essential in order to become a superpower. Firstly, It has a probability to be a superpower due to its longstanding tradition of democracy. Secondly, it has a locational advantage for trade and a large population which acts as the market with an everlasting demand. Thirdly, it has a stable government system with non-violent transitions along with decent standing within the globe. Added to that, it has proximity to major oil exporters, an enormous English-speaking population, massive engineering education and a system of research and development institutions. India could emerge as a superpower with effective leadership, it might also give new definitions to the term, and be a peaceful and progressive model for the rest of the countries to follow.Further, India’s economy is third largest in the world, it has a hefty workforce which is cheaper than the US, its military is the largest active-duty force in the world as of 2020.
India as a superpower: The way ahead
This benevolent gesture might be the stepping stone for India to become an emerging superpower as HCQ presents itself as a possible diplomatic tool. India acted as the supplier of the drug to the nations who were dependent and which in turn raises very powerful diplomatic ties. India’s political stance will be strengthened as acts such as these in the times of distress earns nation goodwill in the international community. India placed as the foremost priority in the decision making related to HCQ which will not go unnoticed. Being a superpower is never about just about soft power but is rather a combination of hard and soft power. It classifies and labels a country when it is capable of ascending and mark a dominant position. This is characterized by its project power on a global scale or extensive ability to exert influence. This is achieved through the combined means of technological, economic, diplomatic and soft power influence as well as a military and cultural strength. Furthermore, by allowing the exports of HCQ, the world will be indebted to India as a nation in balancing national needs and international demands at such a crucial juncture.There will be a prospective partnership with various nations which will articulate tangible principles to guide ongoing efforts to advance mutual prosperity, regional peace, a clean and healthy environment. The consequences of these would also, in turn, ensure security and stability for the larger benefit of humankind and greater economic cooperation from the comity of the nations.
The Indian government has till date approved the availability of the anti-malarial drug Hydroxychloroquine to 55 countries as a part of the efforts to fight the global COVID-19 pandemic.The countries for which exports have been approved are the UK, Bhutan, Bangladesh, Nepal, Sri Lanka,Zimbabwe, Kenya, Zambia, Afghanistan, Niger, Mali, Republic of Congo, France, Myanmar, the Netherlands, etc. India has been recognised as a global supplier of medicines during this humanitarian crisis. India’s diplomacy has played a major role in managing the crisis, be in evacuating the distress people or following the pandemic minute by minute or settling immediate and complicated issues including facilitating the evacuation of stranded foreign nationals in India.And hence, this drug is also stated as a game-changer drug.Due to COVID diplomacy, India is emerging as a responsible and reliable international power. India has begun sending dispatches of rescue medicines as gifts to neighbouring countries to help them fight the coronavirus pandemic. It is to be judged in times to come, how these benevolent steps pan out in the political and diplomatic ties in the international community.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

 

Janhavi Deshmukh is a student at Maharashtra National law University. Her interests lie in Geo-Politics, contemporary legal issues and Political theories.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

In content Picture Credit: newindianexpress.com

1 Comment

  1. Nice Blog, Thank you for sharing a valuable topic.

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