Diplomatic tussle at WHO

  • IASbaba
  • May 19, 2020
  • 0
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Topic: General Studies 2,3:

  • Effect of policies and politics of developed and developing countries on India
  • Government policies and interventions for development in various sectors 

Diplomatic tussle at WHO

Context: A resolution is being moved at World Health Assembly seeking a probe into the origin of Covid-19 and role of WHO

Did You Know?

  • The call for an international investigation was first voiced formally by the Australian prime minister.
  • India is set to be elected Chair of the WHO’s decision-making Executive Board at its 73rd World Health Assembly on 18-19 May 2020

What is the resolution all about?

  • Besides a scientific investigation into the origins of the virus, the resolution calls for an “impartial, independent and comprehensive” evaluation into the international response to the corona pandemic
  • The resolution does not mention China by name, which is one of the key demands of US.

Critical Analysis of the resolution proposed

  • Diluted: The resolution was watered down to get the maximum possible backing at the WHO
  • Not powerless: The resolution is said to have enough teeth to dig deep into the issues raised by the corona crisis.
  • Overrides China’s opposition: Despite the open threats of trade sanctions from China, Australia has pressed ahead working with the EU to introduce the resolution.
  • Accountability: The resolution indicates that international community wants accountability from China and WHO on their handling of pandemic
  • Setback for China: A unanimous approval of the resolution will be a diplomatic setback for China, since limiting the demands for an external inquiry has been a major political priority for Beijing.

What must India do at these times?

India must look at the deeper issues that have troubled the WHO

  • There is the need to develop new international norms that will increase the powers of the WHO in facilitating early detection & notification of pandemics
  • India must help change the funding of WHO -It depends on donations rather than membership fees, as a result, donors will set the agenda
  • India must also ask if the WHO is trying to do too many things. 
  • WHO’s initial successes came when it focused on a few objectives like combatting malaria and the elimination of smallpox. 
  • A limited agenda will make thus WHO a more effective organisation.


Sustained engagement with China, then, is as important for India as deeper cooperation with the “Quad plus” nations in promoting a new global regime on preventing and managing pandemics.

Connecting the dots:

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