May 11, 2020, 5:00 AM IST TOI Edit in TOI Editorials | Edit Page, India, Times View, World | TOI
Yet Taiwan is kept out of WHO due to pressure from China, which has contributed to WHO's reputation as being China-centric. WHO is badly in need of reform, which must include a recognition that Covid-19 is a global pandemic that can only be tackled through genuine cooperation between all international stakeholders. And given Taiwan's experience in tackling the disease, it can surely contribute towards this goal. China, however, chooses to cussedly put politics over global health. In a recent pushback, US secretary of state Mike Pompeo has urged WHO director-general Tedros Ghebreyesus to invite Taiwan to this month's World Health Assembly (WHA) – the decision-making body of the WHO – as an observer, and asked all nations to support Taiwan’s case.
India should not shy away from supporting Taiwan. The latter's participation at the May 18-19 WHA is wholly justified and an important element of WHO reform. Besides, China routinely thwarts India diplomatically at UN bodies and international fora, including over sanctioning Pakistan-based terrorists, and gives India grief over Kashmir. There's also reason to believe that China has, through its opacity, contributed to the spiralling corona pandemic which has caused so much suffering in India. There's no need, therefore, to be overly deferential to Beijing and take its side against Taiwan, which is helping India's Covid fight and recently donated a million face masks. If New Delhi is to get itself taken seriously, it must demonstrate that it can stand up and be counted.
This piece appeared as an editorial opinion in the print edition of The Times of India.