India’s catastrophic Covid-19 wave has not only battered its ambitions to become the “pharmacy of the world”, but it has also undermined a US plan for New Delhi to play a leading role in countering Chinese influence in the Indo-Pacific region. President Joe Biden sees a reinvigorated “Quad”, a diplomatic and security initiative consisting of the US, India, Japan and Australia, as an integral part of his strategy to resist Chinese economic and military aggression.
But India’s coronavirus crisis and subsequent vaccine export ban have overshadowed the quartet’s first attempt to prove it can provide practical help to the region and is not just an anti-China military alliance. Instead, India’s failure has created an opportunity that China is exploiting.
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