France and India have strengthened their friendship into a strategic alliance and partnership over the past few years. Emmanuel Macron – the President of France has shown an indomitable spirit to stand beside India and support New Delhi come what may. A glimpse of the same commitment to India was seen on Saturday when President Macron made it abundantly clear to the leaders of the European Union and the world at large that India has gone out of its way to help countries around the world during the Wuhan virus pandemic.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi participated at the India-EU virtual summit in presence of 26 other EU leaders on Saturday evening. The summit comes at the backdrop of the Modi government being criticised internationally for vaccine shortage and its handling of the pandemic. At the virtual summit attended by Germany’s Angela Merkel and the EU president Ursula von der Leyen among others, the French President said, “India does not need to listen to lectures from anyone about vaccine supplies. India has exported a lot for humanity to many countries. We know what situation India is in.”
Emmanuel Macron’s statement where he supported India’s fight against Covid-19 comes as a tight slap landing squarely on the face of German Chancellor Angela Merkel, who recently miscalculated the country’s power, and in a fit of arrogance, remarked that the excessive dependence of the EU and Germany on India for pharmaceutical products might require a rethink, considering the fact that as a catastrophic second wave ravages India, the country has diverted much of such products to meet domestic needs first.
India, under its ‘Vaccine Maitri’ initiative, is helping the globe battle the COVID-19 pandemic by exporting no less than 663.698 lakh Covid-19 vaccines to as many as 95 countries. This was paused as India’s domestic requirements overwhelmed any possibility of exports.
French President Emmanuel Macron’s reaffirmation of support for India also comes at a time when Germany, under Angela Merkel, has been vociferously campaigning to stall New Delhi’s endeavour of seeking an exemption of intellectual property rights for Covid-19 vaccines at the World Trade Organisation – which would pave the way for seamless technology transfer of vaccines, thus accelerating the world’s fight against the Chinese pandemic.
The simple reason why Germany is causing a bottleneck in the proposal is that it fears India will be able to manufacture vaccines on an even larger scale and eventually export it to countries across the planet, at minimal margins – thereby eating into the shares of German pharma companies that fleece the customers.
Evidently, India is being lectured by many countries in its time of crisis, despite doing all it could have earlier to help the world community battle Covid-19. Leading the pack of such countries is Germany – led by Merkel. However, the French President’s statement of support for India is surely an embarrassment for Merkel – who in any case is losing her control over the European Union and is also nearing the end of her political career domestically.
Angela Merkel is evidently not in the best frame of mind currently. It is rudimentary knowledge that if India’s push of an IP waiver on Covid-19 vaccines is passed by the WTO, New Delhi would be able to manufacture much more vaccines than what it is presently producing. Only then will the country be able to export vaccines for the world community. However, Germany is really shooting itself in the foot by trying to block the IP waiver proposal of India and other countries.