Gravitas: Why is the U.S. testing India’s resolve?

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the pandemic has been a litmus test for alliances it has separated friends from partners you see a partnership is based on terms and conditions but friendship is unconditional and one country is treading this fine line with india and we have to say it is not doing a good job with it we’re talking about the united states of america is it a friend or is it a partner washington sees india as a key ally in the indo-pacific it turns on the charm offensive when needed like on climate change the us needs india’s support for climate action so dispatch john kerry to warn you delhi but when the show is on the other foot washington changes stack let’s look at four u.s actions in the last couple of months and ask ourselves are these things you would expect from an ally number one the ban on the export of vaccine raw materials we know that india is the biggest vaccine maker in the world but to make these vaccines you need raw materials and most of these come from the united states but here’s the problem the us has banned the export of these items back in february joe biden invoked the u.s defense production act it’s a wartime law it diverted all resources to america’s vaccine production so none of it was available for export now washington insists that there is no explicit embargo but the supply of 35 key ingredients has been disrupted india has raised these issues multiple times with the us ambassador taranjit singh sandhu flagged it as soon as joe biden invoked the act foreign minister sj shankar raised it during his phone call with anthony blinken but the u.s response has been disappointing joe biden has said he understands india’s needs but in the middle of shortages and debts understanding does not count for much also think back to the fcq craze of 2020 hydroxychloroquine it was india that exported 50 million tablets to the us so this was america’s chance to repay that favor instead washington chose vaccine nationalism action number two the us has put india on the currency manipulator watch list what does that mean let me explain india’s reserve bank has been accused of foul play in the foreign exchange market the rbi purchased dollar worth five percent of the gdp the u.s has set the threshold at two percent so how has the market reacted to this move most experts have called it ludicrous india’s commerce secretary said there is no economic logic to america’s move in fact if anyone is manipulating the currency it is the united states itself the federal reserve has kept the interest rates so low that capital is flowing out of america and these funds are flooding the indian market and affecting the rupee action number three american adventurism in india’s exclusive economic zone we’ve already told you the story the u.

s navy sailed its warship near india’s lakshadweep island there was no warning there was no diplomatic outreach only a deadpan statement after the event the u.s navy apparently wanted to check india’s excessive maritime claims and remember these were peaceful waters with no cross claims of sovereignty action number four america’s overreach into india’s domestic issues last month the state department published its human rights report it said the situation in india was deteriorating this week they published another report this is on religious freedoms america’s own record on protecting the rights of minorities is abysmal it continues to give its western allies a past but when it comes to india interference is the norm so what is joe biden’s endgame here why is he testing his best bet against china well a lot of it could be attributed to domestic pressure the democrats are pushing biden to pursue a more hawkish india policy because in strategic terms this approach makes no sense whatsoever if biden wants to change the dragon he will need india’s help there are no two ways about it and new delhi has already taken the first step after decades of non-alliance india is now flirting with the idea of formalizing the quad so new delhi is putting its money on the u.s but this confused messaging from washington is not helping at all so what can joe biden do now for starters he could send over those vaccine raw materials india needs them to hasten vaccine production a sign of goodwill here would smooth some of the apprehensions joe biden has a decision to make friend or partner it is exactly as simple as it sounds veon is now available in your country download the app now and get all the news on the move

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