COVID-19 vaccine diplomacy: India’s opportunity to regain leadership in the neighbourhood
By Pranathi Rao
In early 2020, India responded to COVID-19 with a strict lockdown, mask mandates, and a broad shutdown of schools and recreational centers. The disease burden- as the country with the second highest number of total COVID-19 cases- meant that India spent much of the year battling internal issues, but current lack of global leadership from the US and the EU means that India can no longer afford to focus inwards. Rather, the government must aim to export more vaccines and provide greater aid to struggling nations around the world.
Science diplomacy is defined, nebulously, as a series of interactions that occur in the intersection of the two fields of science and diplomacy. A subset of science diplomacy is called vaccine diplomacy, which involves the convergence of vaccine development, import and export for furthering a country’s diplomatic goals. India has no specific framework for this particular kind of diplomacy, but are not hesitating to use vaccine diplomacy to drum up international support and goodwill.