In a major development, over 122 nations have called for an investigation into the COVID-19 origins and an “impartial, independent and comprehensive” evaluation to “review experience gained and lessons learned from the WHO-coordinated international health response to COVID-19”. Of these 122 nations, Australia, the European Union nations, Russia, India and the African bloc stand out.
India was one of the first 62 countries to sign the document as New Delhi has finally taken a firm stand against China and on WHO’s incoherent and obnoxiously pro-Beijing response to the Coronavirus Pandemic. This comes in the backdrop of a sudden surge in violence by Chinese troops towards the Indian side at the Sikkim and Easter Ladakh borders.
The seven page-document doesn’t only call for an impartial probe into WHO’s response, but also targets China by stressing on investigating the origins of the virus. It doesn’t directly mention China or Wuhan.
The document however calls upon the WHO Director-General to work with the World Organisation for Animal Health to conduct “scientific and collaborative field missions” and “identify the zoonotic source of the virus and the route of introduction to the human population, including the possible role of intermediate hosts”.
This is the first step towards the international community’s demand of investigating the Wuhan lab from where the Coronavirus outbreak is suspected to have originated and taken the grip of the entire world.
By signing the draft-resolution, it is the first time that the Modi government has taken a clear stance on the COVID-19 Pandemic which is believed to have originated from the Wuhan Institute of Virology, and this is likely to irk the WHO as well as Beijing, which has been enjoying undue generosity from the intergovernmental organisation and its Director-General, Tedros Adhanom.
A copy of the draft which will be adopted at the World Health Assembly starting tomorrow that calls for an "impartial, independent and comprehensive" probe into the coronavirus outbreak. Led by Australia and EU, backed by India among others. @WIONews pic.twitter.com/0mklCo6fv5
— Palki Sharma (@palkisu) May 17, 2020
Till now, New Delhi was more or less silent about the WHO’s failures or its attempt to shield China who literally created the ongoing Pandemic and later covered up its severity. The only time India dropped some hints, was when Prime Minister Modi backed WHO reforms during the G20 summit in March and also spoke about the need for transparency and accountability.
As far as China’s role and WHO’s complicity is concerned, New Delhi was never as vocal as say Australia or the United States or some European countries, and the only time a leader hinted foul-play was when Nitin Gadkari, Union Minister for Road Transport and Highways said, “The second problem is detection methodology. We need some good methodology for that so that we can immediately identify the virus. This is unexpected because this a virus from the laboratory, this is not a natural virus, so the world is now prepared, India is now prepared, scientists are prepared. After finding a solution for that, we can create confidence. After taking a vaccine there will be no problem.”
India kept its cards close to its chest which led the Dragon to believe that it could scare off New Delhi from calling out the WHO-China nexus. With the key WHO meet scheduled for this month, China’s People’s Liberation Army (PLA) engaged in scuffles at Sikkim and Ladakh at disputed borders with India, in a desperate bid to ensure that India doesn’t take a clear stand on China’s culpability in letting the COVID-19 Pandemic take grip of the entire world.
Read: ‘Not cholera but acute diarrhoea,’ WHO chief has a history of covering up epidemics & sucking up to China
China was expecting New Delhi to take a pro-Beijing stance on the issue or at least stay silent about it, and in March Chinese diplomats had sought India’s help to counter attempts to call COVID-19 as “Chinese virus” and to lay blame on Beijing for failing to detect, spot and inform the world about the severity of the Pandemic.
But when the real moment came India delivered and this is why it is likely to seem like a body blow both for the WHO and Beijing. Out of all countries, it is India’s stand that is likely to hurt the WHO-China nexus the most as it is really a bolt from the blue for the Geneva-based organisation as well as China.