Updated: June 17, 2020 9:08:47 am
De-escalation efforts at the Line of Actual Control took a dangerous turn, with the Indian and Chinese troops involved in a violent confrontation that resulted in the deaths of a commanding officer and 19 other Indian Army personnel. The Army said there were casualties on both sides, but Beijing is silent on its losses. The trigger: Chinese soldiers began erecting a new post on the southern bank of Galwan river.
Among the 20 dead was Colonel Bikkumalla Santosh Babu, the Commanding Officer of 16 Bihar, who insisted that the Chinese remove the post. In fact, he had got orders for posting to Hyderabad three months back. He could not leave, first due to the lockdown and then tensions with China.
Monday’s violent faceoff was physical, no bullets were fired. But the last time shots reverberated around the Himalayan region in 1967, it began as a scuffle between soldiers of the two armies. It escalated to such an extent that the Chinese threatened to bring in warplanes. The clash eventually left 88 Indian soldiers dead. More than 300 Chinese soldiers were killed.
Meanwhile, officials say that the incident dents the diplomatic effort invested in nurturing the relationship between Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Chinese President Xi Jinping. Both have met at least 18 times since Modi came to power in 2014. The PM has visited China five times as the PM, the most by any Indian PM in the last 70 years.
Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury, leader of Congress in Lok Sabha, writes: “We cannot afford to continue preaching peace at the cost of our territorial integrity. Under the veneer of the Wuhan spirit followed by the Mahabalipuram meeting, China, with its egregious intrusion, has played its cards at our expense.”
Economy was the central focus of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s first round of meetings with chief ministers post Unlock 1.0. Claiming that green shoots were visible two weeks after the easing of the lockdown, the PM said the economy was expected to pick up further in the coming days and urged states to work together with the Centre for it.
Demand for remdesivir, still an investigational drug for use in treating coronavirus, has been on the rise after Drug Controller General of India Dr V G Somani granted emergency use approval for its supply to Gilead Sciences, the firm that developed it, on June 1. Now, amid instances of patients attempting to import it from Bangladesh, India has said it will block any supplies coming in illegally.
An anti-inflammatory low-cost drug was found to reduce deaths among Covid-19 patients on ventilators, according to researchers from Oxford University. The drug, dexamethasone, reduced deaths by one-third in ventilated patients and by one-fifth in patients receiving only oxygen.
As the government deals with a surge in Covid cases, the pandemic hasn’t left its corridors untouched. At least a hundred central government employees have tested positive so far, with many more under self-quarantine/isolation.
Defence Minister Rajnath Singh’s remarks on India-Nepal ties on Monday – that the relationship goes more than just between two neighbours, bound as it is “roti aur beti” (bread and family ties through weddings) — will resonate with most people in districts of Bihar bordering Nepal. Residents now feel the strain of changing equations between the two neighbours.
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