a close up of a flag© Provided by WIONThis pandemic has been a litmus test for alliances and has separated friends from partners.A partnership is based on terms and conditions, but friendship is unconditional.One country is treading this fine line with India.

We are talking about the United States.

Washington sees India as a key ally in the Indo-Pacific.

It turns on the charm offensive when needed like on climate change the US needs India’s support for climate action.

So it dispatched John Kerry to woo New Delhi, but when the shoe is on the other foot, Washington changes tack.

Let’s look at four US actions in the last couple of months. Are these things you would expect from an ally?

Also read | Biden administration applauds India for stepping up its climate change commitment

Ban on vaccine raw material exports 

We know that India is the biggest vaccine maker in the world, but to make vaccines, you need raw materials and most of it comes from the US.

But, Washington has banned the export of these items under the US Defence Production Act, a wartime law.

It diverted all resources to America’s vaccine production and so none of it was available for export.

Now Washington insists there is no explicit embargo, but the supply of 35 key ingredients has been disrupted.

India has raised this issue multiple times with the US.

Ambassador Taranjit Singh Sandhu flagged it as soon as US President Joe Biden invoked the act.

Foreign minister S Jaishankar raised it during his phone call with his counterpart Antony Blinken.

But Washington’s response has been disappointing as Biden says he understands India’s needs, but in the middle of shortages and deaths, understanding doesn’t count for much.

Take a look back to the hydroxychloroquine craze of 2020 when India exported 50 million tablets to the US.

This was America’s chance to repay that favour, instead, Washington chose vaccine nationalism.

Currency manipulator

The US has put India on the currency manipulator watch list.

India’s Reserve Bank has been accused of foul play in the foreign exchange market.

The RBI purchased dollars worth 5 per cent of the GDP and the US has set the threshold at 2 per cent.

Most experts have called it ludicrous and India’s commerce secretary said there is no economic logic to America’s move.

In fact, if anyone is manipulating the currency, it is the US.

The Federal Reserve has kept the interest rates so low that capital is flowing out of America.

These funds are flooding the Indian markets and affecting the rupee.

American adventurism in India’s exclusive economic zone.

The US Navy sailed its warship near India’s Lakshadweep island and there was neither any warning nor any diplomatic outreach.

The US Navy apparently wanted to check India’s excessive maritime claims.

These were peaceful waters with no cross-claims of sovereignty.

America’s overreach into India’s domestic issues

Last month, the State Department published its human rights report, which said the situation in India was deteriorating.

This week they published another report on religious freedoms.

America’s own record on protecting the rights of minorities is abysmal and still, it continues to give its western allies a pass.

But when it comes to India, interference is the norm.

So what is Biden’s endgame here? Why is he testing his best bet against China?

A lot of it can be attributed to domestic pressure as the democrats are pushing Biden to pursue a more hawkish India policy.

If Biden wants to chain the dragon, he will need India’s help and New Delhi has already taken the first step.

After decades of non-alliance, India is now flirting with the idea of formalising the Quad.

So India is putting its money on the US, but this confused messaging from the US is not helping.

Biden for starters could send over those vaccine raw materials as India needs them to hasten vaccine production.

A sign of goodwill here would smooth some of the apprehensions.

Biden has a decision to make that India is a friend or partner.