The Polit Bureau of the Communist Party of India (Marxist) has issued the following statement:

The scaling up of vaccine production in India is being hampered by the shortage of the intermediate material required for vaccine production. Much of this  material such as  filters, solutions and  plastic bags come from the United States. But the U.S. Administration has banned the export of vaccine material under its Defence Production Act. Despite requests by the Indian authorities, no relaxation or exemption has been given for export of these items. The biggest vaccine manufacturer in the country, the Serum Institute of India, has been drawing attention to this problem for quite some time.

The stand of the Biden Administration reeks of double-speak. Just last month, at the Quad Summit held on March 12, the joint statement issued stated: “we will join forces to expand safe, affordable, and effective vaccine production and equitable access, to speed economic recovery and benefit global health”. Further, the United States promised to finance production of vaccines by an Indian company, Biological E Ltd  to help India become a hub of vaccine production for the Indo-Pacific region.

The ban on exports of materials used in vaccine production goes completely against these stated aims. The Modi government, which sets much store on the Quad alliance, must ensure that the Biden Administration keeps to its committed word and immediately ensure supply of essential vaccine material to India. This is the least that must be done when India is facing vaccine shortage in the face of an unprecedented surge of Covid infections.