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Covid-19 and the contours of a new world order| Analysis

The world is grappling with the coronavirus pandemic. People are dying in large numbers. Health care and the economy are under severe stress. Countries are turning inwards, closing borders, to protect their people. As historian Yuval Noah Harari wrote, more and more countries are becoming nationalist and protectionist, even, in some cases, even authoritarian.

But the coronavirus disease (Covid-19) has taught us a different lesson, a lesson of interdependence. The pandemic is global. The battle to combat it too must be global. We depend on each other for our health care equipment, services, transportation facilities, and, finally the vaccines, as and when they are invented. India has imported masks and testing kits from some countries, while exporting critical drugs such as hydroxychloroquine to many countries, including the United States (US). Global supply chains have become critical not only for health care products, but food and other supplies too.

In fact, one big realisation for countries from the pandemic has been that nationalism of the closed kind won’t work. Donald Trump’s “America first” nationalism didn’t work. He had to turn to China, India, and South Korea for supplies. A recurring theme of many a political scientist about American exceptionalism stands shattered today. Isolationists in all countries, including India, must realise that post-Covid-19 world will be more integrationist than isolationist.

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