Daily briefing: Chinese firms to lose India business in Railways, telecom; Why Bengaluru’s Covid count is least among big cities

From New Delhi's stance against Beijing over border row to a possible no-confidence motion against the BJP government in Manipur, here are the top stories from The Indian Express print edition.

A look at the top news today, May 18, 2020.

Dear Reader,

The Conflict

New Delhi is not mincing its words when it comes to holding Beijing accountable for the Galwan clash. External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar told his counterpart Wang Yi that the Chinese side had taken “pre-meditated and planned action” that was “directly responsible” for the violence and casualties. And Prime Minister Narendra Modi underlined that India seeks peace, but it’s capable of giving a befitting reply if instigated.

Blowback from the heightened tensions at the Line of Actual Control is going to hurt Chinese businesses with interests in India. A Chinese major is set to lose a Rs 500 crore contract to install signalling systems in over 400 km of railway lines. And the state-owned BSNL will not be using Chinese-made equipment to upgrade its 4G facilities. Privately run telecom companies may also be asked to stop depending on Chinese gear.

Talks at the level of Major Generals between India and China remained inconclusive, but the two sides will meet again today. The government, meanwhile, has instructed all armed forces units to be in the state of highest readiness – on operational alert – for any deployment in the light of tensions on the China border.

So, what exactly happened in the Galwan Valley on Monday? If there were no shots fired, how did the soldiers die? These are some of the pressing questions on every Indian’s mind with not many details being made public. The Indian Express’s Sushant Singh tries to make sense of how serious is the situation at LAC and what happens next.

BJP national general secretary Ram Madhav writes in today’s IE: “In the last four decades, China adopted the Sun Tzu formula of “the supreme art of war is to subdue the enemy without fighting”. It has resorted to area expansion and domination tactics using numerical superiority and military aggression. It continued to nibble away at our territories through aggressive patrolling and continuous border violations.”

The Pandemic

Ab hamein unlock ke phase hi dhoondhte rehna hai“: Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Wednesday dismissed rumours of another round of lockdown and directed states to ramp up medical facilities to fight the pandemic. “Compared with rest of the world, our condition is not as worrisome,” he said.

After hydroxychloroquine, the demand for dexamethasone has placed the Indian market under the spotlight even as medical experts continue to understand how beneficial it may be as part of the country’s Covid-19 treatment protocol. The drug in India seems like a fairly small market by value, but not by volumes, according to Indian Pharmaceutical Alliance secretary general Sudarshan Jain.

The continuing practice of quarantining positive cases and identifying contacts within 24 hours of a positive test result have helped Bengaluru maintain the least cases among cities with a population of 10 million or more. Besides the testing-tracking policy, experts point to the effective use of data to understand the spread of the disease.

Beyond Covid-19

Nepal’s Army chief General Purna Chandra Thapa on Wednesday inspected a new security post at Changru near Kalapani as the Upper House prepared to vote on a constitution amendment Bill seeking approval for the country’s new map that includes territories with India.

The BJP government in Manipur plunged into a crisis on Wednesday after three of its MLAs resigned and joined the Congress, and six others from other parties withdrew support. Former Congress CM and CLP leader Okram Ibobi Singh will approach Governor Najma Heptullah to call a special Assembly session to floor a no-confidence motion against the N Biren Singh-led government.

In today’s episode of Three Things Podcast, we discuss the reason behind the Galwan Valley face-off and the options India is left with.

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