Mains Paper 2: International Relations
Prelims level: World Health Assembly
Mains level: Effect of policies and politics of developed and developing
countries on India's interests
As India takes a leadership position at the World Health Organisation
this week, international attention is riveted on the question of an inquiry
into the origin of the coronavirus and the WHO’s response to it. The call
for an intern..................................
The first multilateral discussion of the issues raised by the corona
crisis at the United Nations Security Council and the G-20 forum in the last
few weeks were preliminary and polite. Now the entire international
community — the WHA has 194 members — has a voice in addressing the key
issues raised by the corona crisis by debating the resolution.
Besides a scientific investigation into the origins of the virus, the
resolution also calls for an “impartial, independent and comprehensive”
evaluation into the international response to the corona pandemic. According
to media reports on Monday, the resolution was close to gaining support from
two-thirds of the WHA’s 194 members.
Australia and the EU hope to have the resolution approved unanimously.
Since the resolution does not mention China by name, Canberra and Brussels
hope Beijing will not oppose the resolution. They also hope to persuade
Washington, which wanted tougher language including references to China, to
endorse the resolution.
Whatever the fate of the resolution, the wide-ranging support it has got
amidst the vocal Chinese opposition is impressive. To be sure, the
resolution was watered down to get the maximum possible backing at the WHO.
But it is said to have enough teeth to dig deep into the issues raised by
the corona crisis.
A few weeks ago, it seemed China and the
If the public pressure from the US concentrated minds at the WHO, some
quiet diplomacy by middle powers, including India, appears to have created
the political basis for learning the right lessons from the pandemic and
preventing similar eruptions in the future.
Some observers see a unanimous approval of the resolution as a
diplomatic setback for Beijing, since limiting the demands for an external
inquiry has been a major political priority for Beijing. There are similar
demands at home for an investigation into a crisis that led to an enormous
loss of life in China and punishing those responsible. The leadership in
Beijing is not comfortable with these demands.
Beyond the immediate debates, Delhi must look at the deeper issues that
have hobbled the WHO.
First is the need to develop new international norms that will increase
the obligations of states and the powers of the WHO in facilitating early
detection and notification of pandemics. This will involve finding
Any current effort to understand the origin and spread of the COVID-19
virus and a long-term strategy to deal with future pandemics must
necessarily involve more than a measure of Chinese cooperation.
Sustained engagement with Beijing, then, is as important for Delhi as
deeper cooperation with Washington and the “Quad plus” nations(The seven
countries — India, US, Australia, Japan, South South Korea, New Zealand and
Vietnam) as well as more intensive engagement with the non-aligned nations
in promoting a new global regime on preventing and managing pandemics.
Q1. With reference to the 'Atma-Nirbhar Bharat' Abhiyan, consider
the following statements: 1. Prime Minister has recently announced a special economic package worth 20
lakh crore rupees for an 'Atma-Nirbhar Bharat' or self-reliant India.
2. The special economic package is equivalent to almost 10 percent of India’s
Which of the statements given above is/are correct? (a) 1 only
(b) 2 only
(c) Both 1 and 2
(d) Neither 1 nor 2