Implications for the world
India’s plight has worldwide implications. There is still a tendency in the West to treat the pandemic as a series of national crises in which countries compete to see who can deal with the virus better. But this is an interconnected global crisis. As Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, the head of the World Health Organization puts it, Covid-19 is an international fire and, “if you hose only one part of it, the rest will keep burning”. Eventually, the fire is likely to spread once again, reigniting in places where it was thought to be extinguished. There is already cause for concern that the UK was too slow to introduce stringent quarantine measures for passengers arriving from India. That is particularly dangerous, given the emergence of new variants of the virus in India that may be more transmissible and vaccine resistant.
Getting medical help to India is now both a humanitarian and a pragmatic necessity for the outside world, which is beginning to respond. For the US, it may also be a geopolitical necessity, given that America regards India as a crucial ally in its growing rivalry with China. A recent article in The Times proclaimed that “Britain could feel like paradise this summer.” The lesson of India is to guard against premature celebration or hubris. –Financial Times, London