India-US Cooperation from tackling climate change to COVID care – All India Radio (AIR) IAS UPSC

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  • July 28, 2021
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General Studies 2:

  • Effect of policies and politics of developed and developing countries on India’s interests

General Studies 3

  • Climate Change


In News: The US government has stepped up assistance to India in its battle against a deadly wave of the COVID-19. The India-U.S. cooperation is proving crucial to confront the health challenges posed by the coronavirus pandemic, including future vaccine development and distribution.

As both India and the United States combat a pandemic of unprecedented scale, the two countries have drawn upon the strength of their long-standing health-care ties to help them better understand the novel coronavirus and find workable solutions

The India-U.S. partnership in medical research has been complemented by the strength of our cooperation in pharmaceuticals. India’s capabilities in R&D and in manufacturing have made its pharmaceutical sector the world’s third-largest by volume. These strengths have been bolstered by government incentives to encourage investments in the manufacture of active pharmaceutical ingredients. Indian generic drugs have found a ready market across the globe, with Indian firms supplying about 40% of generic formulations marketed in the United States.

This has allowed American health-care consumers to save billions and enjoy enhanced access to quality medicines. The pharmaceutical sector has also been a significant job creator in the United States, with Indian firms investing billions to establish manufacturing facilities in different states in this country.

Immediate U.S. Emergency COVID-19 Assistance

  • Oxygen Support:  An initial delivery of 1,100 cylinders will remain in India and can be repeatedly refilled at local supply centers, with more planeloads to come.  The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has also locally procured oxygen cylinders and will deliver them to support hospital systems in coordination with the Government of India.
  • Oxygen Concentrators: 1700 oxygen concentrators to obtain oxygen from ambient air, these mobile units provide options for flexible patient treatment.
  • Oxygen Generation Units (PSA Systems): Multiple large-scale units to support up to 20 patients each, and additional mobile units will provide an ability to target specific shortages. A team of U.S. experts will support these units, working hand-in-hand on the ground with Indian medical personnel. 
  • Personal Protective Equipment: 15 million N95 masks to protect both patients and Indian health care personnel. 
  • Vaccine-Manufacturing Supplies:  The U.S. has re-directed its own order of Astra Zeneca manufacturing supplies to India.  This will allow India to make over 20 million doses of COVID-19 vaccine.
  • Rapid Diagnostic Tests (RDTs):  1 million rapid diagnostic tests – the same type used by the White House — to provide reliable results in less than 15 minutes to help identify and prevent community spread.     
  • Therapeutics:  The first tranche of a planned 20,000 treatment courses of the antiviral drug remdesivir to help treat hospitalized patients.  
  • Public Health Assistance: U.S. CDC experts will work hand-in- hand with India’s experts in the following areas: laboratory, surveillance and epidemiology, bioinformatics for genomic sequencing and modeling, infection prevention and control, vaccine rollout, and risk communication.

U.S.-India Health Partnership: Seven Decades Strong

  • For seventy years, U.S. public health experts from across the government, including USAID, HHS, CDC, FDA, and NIH, have worked in partnership with Indian officials to improve the health of India’s most vulnerable communities and the well-being of its people. 
  • Over the last 20 years, U.S. foreign assistance to India has exceeded $2.8 billion, including more than $1.4 billion for health care. 
  • The United States, India, and other partners have worked together to reduce new HIV infections by 37 percent between 2010 and 2019.
  • Since 1998, the United States and India have worked together to combat tuberculosis (TB) through improved patient-centered diagnosis, treatment and prevention, helping treat 15 million people with the disease.
  • In the last five years, the United States has helped 40 million pregnant women receive vital health information and services.
  • The United States, in partnership with the Government of India and World Health Organization, has supported initiatives at the District, State and National level to build frontline disease detection capacity.
  • The United States and India are working together to advance global health security and fight outbreaks before they become pandemics.


In News: Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced that India and the US are launching a clean energy Agenda 2030 partnership to mobilise investments and enable green collaborations.

Addressing the virtual summit on climate, hosted by US President Joe Biden and attended by 40 global leaders, PM Modi pitched for concrete action at a high speed and on a large scale globally to combat climate change. He asserted that India has taken several bold steps on clean energy, energy efficiency and bio-diversity despite its development challenges, adding that the country’s carbon footprint is 60% lower than the global average.

The Prime Minister said as a climate-responsible developing country, India welcomes partners to create templates of sustainable development in India, and these can help other developing countries as well who need affordable access to green finance and clean technologies.

Launch of the India-US Clean Energy Agenda 2030 Partnership – A Green Partnership

The Partnership will proceed along two main tracks: the Strategic Clean Energy Partnership and the Climate Action and Finance Mobilization Dialogue, which will build on and subsume a range of existing processes. 

The partnership will aim to mobilise finance and speed clean energy deployment; demonstrate and scale innovative clean technologies needed to decarbonise sectors including industry, transportation, power and buildings; and build capacity to measure, manage and adapt to the risks of climate-related impacts

Through this collaboration, India and the United States aim to demonstrate how the world can align swift climate action with inclusive and resilient economic development, taking into account national circumstances and sustainable development priorities. Led by Prime Minister Modi and President Biden, the partnership will represent one of the core venues for India-US collaboration and focus on driving urgent progress in this critical decade for climate action.

Both countries have also agreed to prioritise greater collaboration in the clean energy sector, such as biofuels, carbon capture, utilisation and storage (CCUS), hydrogen production and carbon sequestration, through technology exchange, joint research and development (R&D) through Partnership to Advance Clean Energy Research (PACE-R) as part of the strategic partnership.

The Way Forward

Both the US and India have taken important strides together to advance their strategic partnership in the domain of climate action and policy. However, existing efforts continue to rely mainly on an incremental approach to tackling climate change. Such measures are welcome but insufficient. As the world grapples with the COVID-19 pandemic, we are reminded of the human and economic costs associated with weak international cooperation, delayed action, and the lack of investments in important infrastructure and capabilities. Climate-induced disasters may make the current pandemic look meek, and the world could ignore this risk at its own peril. Thus, it is vital for India and the US to double down on efforts to drive structural change, hurdle institutional barriers, and overcome the inertia inhibiting green growth and development.

Connecting the Dots:

  1. Discuss the tremendous scope for India-US cooperation in the sectors of health technology and pharmaceuticals.
  2. India-US Clean Energy Agenda 2030 Partnership

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