Almost 2 years ago, in February 2018, a Communist government came to power in Nepal, the tiny country located in the lower rung of the mighty Himalayas. Since then, the Indian government, which has been a great friend to the neighboring Hindu majority country for decades, found it difficult to carry on the relationship with the same rigor.
The Communist Nepal is slipping into the hands of Communist China, thanks to all-out efforts put by Communist Prime Minister KP Sharma Oli. But the outbreak of Coronavirus might turn the table once again, as the Indian government is using the Hydroxyxholoroquine (HCQ) as a diplomatic weapon.
At a time when the countries around the world are angry with China over the virus outbreak, delivery of faulty medical equipment and activities in South China Sea, India is winning over the world by supplying HCQ, which, as per anecdotal evidences, works as preventive against Coronavirus.
After the outbreak of Coronavirus, the countries around the world are ready to pay any price for anti-malarial drug HCQ, and Paracetamol. India supplies more than 70 percent of global demand, as Indian companies like Ipca Labs and Zydus Cadila are leaders in manufacturing of these medicines.
India is prioritizing Nepal, Bhutan, and Bangladesh to supply HCQ and Paracetamol as these countries have always been dependent on Indian supplies for their medicines. “We will help these countries especially Nepal and Bhutan as they have been completely dependent on us for many products,” said an official, as per a report by Economic Times.
India has decided to supply HCQ to all SAARC countries except Pakistan as the trade representative of the Islamic country did not participate in video conference of trade representatives of all group countries, organized by Indian. The following are the 13 countries which will receive HCQ from India in the first consignment- US, Brazil, Bahrain, Mauritius, Seychelles, the Dominican Republic, Germany, Spain and SAARC countries Nepal, Bhutan, Bangladesh, Maldives and Afghanistan.
“Of course, our neighbourhood is very important, there are countries which are very vulnerable and (have) high demand and are in need of this medicine. So we went through that process of making an assessment as to who would need (hydroxychloroquine) first, and also the global situation… Accordingly, the first list went through the process of clearance (from the empowered committee through to the Group o” Ministers),” said Dammu Ravi, Additional Secretary in the Ministry of External Affairs, who is also the official coordinator for the government’s COVID-19 measures globally.
The supply of HCQ is setting a new era of diplomacy for India. The United States mastered this art earlier by supplying essentials like food, medicine to poor countries through the United States Agency for International Development. For the rich but broken countries of Western Europe, US prepared Marshall Plan. The countries like Japan, South Korea, and Taiwan were also supported by the United States by various means.
After the supply of HCQ, Nepal will also probably understand that it is India which is going help it in every critical time, while China’s only aim is to exploit its resources, which is already visible from the resentment of common Nepalese people against the Chinese companies. HCQ and Paracetamol will usher a new era of diplomacy for India.