India's Moment for Global Health Leadership: India is well positioned to shape the future of global health

March 16, 2024

A core Hindu philosophical tenet from sacred Sanskrit scriptures, Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam, articulates the concept of the world as one family and informs India's global outlook. The theme of India's Group of Twenty (G20) presidency in 2023—One Earth, One Family, One Future—encapsulates Hindu philosophy's emphasis on the importance of every form of life on earth. That approach influences the country's approach to global health in the aftermath of the devastating COVID-19 pandemic.  

During the pandemic, India provided vaccines to nearly 100 countries through its Vaccine Maitri program and participated in multilateral initiatives, including the COVID-19 Vaccines Global Access (COVAX) facility. But the COVID-19 crisis has provided India with an opportunity to transform its leadership in global health. In response to the pandemic, India has reevaluated its domestic and foreign policy strategies, including reassessing its competitive relationship with China.  

India seeks to become a global, nonaligned power. It has used diplomatic platforms, including the G20 and climate change negotiations at the twenty-eighth Conference of the Parties (COP28), to promote a development agenda for low- and middle-income countries (LMICs) that focuses on global health issues, such as pandemic preparedness and climate change adaptation. That approach resonates with India's long-standing support for fellow developing nations, but also represents a shift because India can use global health leadership to counterbalance China's growing regional and global influence. Such leadership can boost India's strategic position among countries in Africa and the Asia-Pacific region that are wary of China's political and economic power, for example.  

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Animesh Roul (Think Global Health, February 29, 2024)