a friend in need is a friend indeed


In the 3rd century BC, the Roman poet Ennius wrote: ‘Amicus certus in re incerta cernitur’, This means “a sure friend is known in difficult times”. Two thousand years later, the statement is now being discussed from Delhi to Washington by those wondering if the current US administration is really a true friend to the Indian people.

Recent events have instead siled the Biden administration, rather than building on the government-wide approach of the previous administration to the Indo-Pacific, and strongly demonstrating the importance of bringing the United States and India closer to each other. Indians are wondering if they are. , Carefully constructed bureaucratic decisions at risk of damaging credibility.

The first major event will be earlier this month USS John Paul Jones Freedom of navigation (FONOP) in the western Indian Ocean near the Maldives. The United States has a similar FONOP in the region. Unfortunately, given that this happened shortly after the Quad Leaders Summit, 7th Fleet’s standard press release received unnecessarily excessive negative attention.

The US FON program, which has existed since 1975, is designed as a legal challenge to excessive maritime claims evaluated by the US and is not directed to any country, but Delhi is still in Washington’s current administration. I’m wondering why I’m treating. India is the same as the strategic competitor mentioned, the People’s Republic of China.

Two other actions from the current US administration have also caused embarrassment and even resentment for the Indian people. First, a recent announcement by the State Department informed India that it faces potential sanctions for not allowing “freedom of religion.” This is especially true for India, a courageous host with a tradition of religious freedom. The Dalai Lama has been around for over 60 years.

Second, the government’s Treasury has added India to its currency manipulation watch list. India was previously on this list, but the timing of this announcement threatens to undermine the credibility it has built over the last four years, given all other seemingly hostile decisions and actions.

However, the worst decision to date has been related to the current deadly surge of COVID-19 virus throughout India. With hundreds of thousands of new cases and thousands of deaths each day, India’s healthcare infrastructure is being pushed to the limit, hospitals are flooded, and there are reports of a serious shortage of oxygen, medicines and ICU beds.

The Modi administration would face its own people in this situation, but clearly needed urgent international support. Very quickly, they all provided assistance to the United Kingdom, France, Germany, and even China and Pakistan. Not surprisingly, Russia quickly announced that it was arranging shipments of oxygen and medicines.

On the other hand, on the US side, the enforcement of the Defense Production Act (DPA) in February 2021 banned the export of raw materials (about 35 from the US) used in the manufacture of antivirus vaccines. The ban has had a negative impact on the Indian pharmaceutical industry, making it impossible to produce vaccines for its own people and save lives, if not prevented.

The Biden administration justified a full export ban as part of the DPA, but Delhi tried to exempt India from this law, especially at the request of many Indian diplomats. I wondered if it wasn’t there.

When asked why the US had already blocked the agreement in delivering the raw materials for the production of vaccines to India, US State Department spokesman Ned Price said: Second, the American country has been hit harder than any other country in the world. In this country alone, more than 550,000 people have died and tens of millions have been infected. “It’s not only in the United States’ interest to see Americans vaccinated, but it’s in the interests of other countries in the world to see Americans vaccinated,” he added. Added.

You can understand why Indians are stunned. India was a team player in the fight against COVID-19. During the proliferation of viruses in the United States in 2020, at the request of the United States, India exported 50 million capsules of hydroxychloroquine to the United States and, on the premise of raw materials, exported tens of millions of free vaccines worldwide. It will continue to flow.

It’s not surprising that the respected and usually US-friendly Indian news panel show anchor said. “Russians are sending us oxygen. We are convinced that we shouldn’t buy missiles now.”

Over the weekend, the Biden administration suddenly awoke, and now there are support tweets and promises to deliver the necessary supplies. Aside from the lives lost unnecessarily, it is unknown how much the reputation has declined. Is this seen as the new administration’s “beginner’s mistake” (though it should be a trial-and-error foreign policy team) or a glimpse of the true idea of ‚Äč‚Äčleadership?

To overcome this, the Biden administration must recognize that India cannot be treated in a siled way. Each department makes its own claims for its own reasons, probably influenced by a particular lobby. In Delhi, swipes from the Navy, Treasury, and states are not seen alone, but as patterns.

The short-term benefits of treating India as a true friend are clear … save lives. The long-term benefit is the promotion of strategic partnerships to save the world from the devastating ideologies and actions of the Chinese Communist Party. This is something we can only do together.

It’s time for America to prove that these words over 2000 years ago are still true today. A friend in need is certainly a friend. India was there when the United States was in need, now it’s America’s turn.

Jim Funnel, a retired US Navy captain, is now a Government Fellow at the Geneva Center for Security Policy in Switzerland and a former Director of National Intelligence for the United States Pacific Fleet. His nearly 30-year career as a Navy intelligence agent spanned an unprecedented series of maritime and land missions throughout the Indo-Pacific, specializing in the Navy and its operations in the People’s Republic of China. A recognized international speaker and prominent writer, Funnel is also the creator and manager of the Indo-Pacific Security Forum Red Star Rising / Risen.

The views expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of The Epoch Times.