World concern over India-China clashes | Daily News


 

World concern over India-China clashes

South and North Korean leaders meet at an earlier inter-Korean Summit
South and North Korean leaders meet at an earlier inter-Korean Summit

A military standoff between India and China over their disputed border in the Himalayan Mountains has escalated into violent clashes that have led to 20 Indian troops dead, with no official figures of Chinese casualties. There is increasing concern in the South Asian region and globally on the wider impact of such clashes.

The clash earlier this week, which has been described by an Indian army spokesman as a ‘violent face-off', was the first such confrontation since 1975 in which Indian soldiers have died.

There are continued tensions between the two regional powers - both nuclear armed - over the 3,500 km frontier, with issues over proper demarcation.

Reports in international media, not confirmed by China, say the Chinese Army suffered 35 casualties in the violent clashes with the Indian military in eastern Ladakh’s Galwan Valley. China has not made any official statement of any casualties in these clashes.

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi in a TV address said the sacrifice of soldiers killed in Ladakh by China’s army “will not go in vain”, and India while peace-loving, is capable of giving a fitting reply if provoked. He said ‘the country will be proud to know that our soldiers died fighting the Chinese’, observing two minutes’ silence in tribute to the Indian soldiers who died.


Dexamethasone

While China’s Foreign Minister Wang Yi has called for India to punish those behind the border clashes between the two forces this week, and warned New Delhi not to underestimate Beijing’s determination to safeguard its sovereign territory, India’s Foreign Minister Subramaniam Jaishankar accused China of erecting a structure in the Galwan Valley which is considered a ‘premeditated and planned action that was responsible for the resulting violence and casualties’.

UN Secretary General Antonio Gutteres has expressed concern over reports of violence and deaths at the Line of Actual Control between India and China and urged both sides "to exercise maximum restraint". UN associate spokesperson Eri Kaneko said: “We are concerned about reports of violence and deaths at the Line of Actual Control between India and China… We take positive note of reports that the two countries have engaged to de-escalate the situation”.

The European Union has called the India-China border tension a ‘worrying development’ and urged the two countries to ‘show restraint and engage in military de-escalation’. EU spokesperson Virginie Battu-Henriksson said: “This is crucial for building trust and reaching a peaceful solution which is essential to preserving and stability in the region”.

China reportedly claims about 90,000 square kilometres of territory in India's northeast, while India says China occupies 38,000 square kilometres of its territory in the Aksai Chin Plateau in the Himalayas, a contiguous part of the Ladakh region.

India unilaterally declared Ladakh a federal territory while separating it from disputed Kashmir in August 2019. China was among the handful of countries to strongly condemn the move, raising it at international forums, including the UN Security Council.

Thousands of soldiers on both sides have faced off for over a month along a remote stretch of the 3,380-kilometre Line of Actual Control, the border established following a war between India and China in 1962 that resulted in an uneasy truce. It is reported that the Indian and Chinese troops fought each other with fists, rocks and rods studded with nails, with no use of firearms.

India was elected a non-permanent member of the UN Security Council for a two-year term this week, obtaining 184 votes in the 193 member UN General Assembly.

Police checks in US

President Donald Trump issued an executive order this week to discourage the police from using chokeholds and create a national database for police misconduct.

This presidential order uses federal government grants to encourage police departments to meet certain standards for use of force, including banning chokeholds of those arrested, except in cases where an officer is targeted by deadly force. It also establishes a database for tracking officers with multiple complaints of misconduct, and gives incentives to police departments to involve mental health professionals and social workers in issues of addiction, homelessness and mental illness.

President Trump was initially against any ban on chokeholds by the police, the call for which came after the death of Black American George Floyd after such a hold in Minnesota, and the huge public protests throughout the US. The Black Lives Matter activists are seeking fundamental changes in the organisation and handling of the police, and many Governors, State leaders and mayors have agreed to such changes.

Trump said: “I strongly oppose the radical and dangerous efforts to defund, dismantle and dissolve our police departments, especially now when we achieved the lowest recorded crime rates in recent history. Americans know the truth: without police, there is chaos. Without law, there is anarchy.”

There are a “small number of bad police officers”, he added. “They are very tiny. I use the word ‘tiny’. It is a very small percentage. But you have them.”

Democrats condemned the President for lack of ambition. Chuck Schumer, the minority leader in the Senate, said: “Unfortunately, this executive order will not deliver the comprehensive meaningful change and accountability in our nation’s police departments that Americans are demanding.”

In the US Congress, a Democratic plan would limit legal protections for police and ban chokeholds. The Republicans also plan for a bill with restrictions on chokeholds and other practices and changes to police procedures and accountability. They describe it as “the most ambitious GOP policing proposal in years”, although the 106-page bill is not as sweeping as the counter Democrat proposal, which is set for a House vote next week.

Some cities and states are also moving ahead with changes of their own. Keisha Lance Bottoms, the mayor of Atlanta, pledged to change police use-of-force policies and require that officers receive continuous training in how to de-escalate situations.

The Trump announcement came after the police killing of another African American man, Rayshard Brooks, 27, outside a fast-food restaurant on Friday, sparking demonstrations in the city. The restaurant was burned down over the weekend and the officer who shot Brooks was fired. It has now been decided that the policeman who shot at Brooks, leading to his death, has committed homicide.

Covid 19 - Global

As the global spread of Covid-19 has now gone beyond 8 million, with 444, 368 deceased, there are new concerns about a second wave of the pandemic with the new outbreak of the infection in Beijing and smaller infections in New Zealand.

Beijing and New Zealand had both declared themselves Covid-19-free by early-June, life returning to an enviable normality of schools and shops, work and human contact, but the situation has changed.

This week saw parts of the Chinese capital moving back to a “wartime” footing after a cluster of cases emerged linked to the city’s biggest wholesale food market. Movement restrictions are back and residents have already been warned against leaving the city. Schools are closed.

In New Zealand, two women who had flown in from Britain to see a dying relative tested positive after they had been released from quarantine for compassionate reasons.

The outbreaks have brought home the stark choices facing leaders and countries that have successfully stamped out the virus or contained its transmission.

“They can maintain containment but doing so will probably require strict observance of quarantines by travellers,” said Prof. Lindsay Wiley, director of the health law and policy program at American University Washington College of Law.

“Testing of travellers upon entry may not be sufficient, given the incubation period and the risk of false negatives. But lengthy travellers’ quarantines are problematic for economies that depend on tourism and also interfere with business travel.”

Both countries have launched exhaustive testing and tracing efforts to reach all possible contacts of those infected; New Zealand has also cancelled all compassionate exceptions to its quarantine measures.

China had taken extra measures to protect its capital from the beginning of the outbreak months ago. The city is the home to the country’s mostly elderly leadership, and has huge symbolic importance, through history. Within days of the outbreak emerging, there were troops around the wholesale market at its centre. Now over 100 cases have been confirmed by mass testing, the city government has described the situation as “extremely severe”, raised the emergency alert level and halted all but urgent travel out of the city.

The new shutdown will be another blow to China’s economy, seriously affected by Covid-19, which began its spread in Wuhan, China. The Coronavirus shutdown brought an abrupt halt to decades of growth that had continued even through Tiananmen, SARS and the global financial crash.

Country-wide spread

The United States remains the country with the highest infections now moving beyond 2 million and the deaths of 118,000. While strong moves are made by President Trump to reopen the US economy with a rapid move away from the social distancing and other medical requirements, the virus continues to rise in at least 22 states in the US, while 20 states have seen decreases in recent days, and eight states are holding steady.

One of the states with the biggest spikes in new cases is Florida, with the number of new cases reported each day has increased an average of roughly 46% over the past week. The past few weeks have seen wider spread in inland states, including Arkansas, Texas and Arizona.

The next highest infection is Brazil - 955, 377 infected / 46,510 deaths, with a rapid spread of the virus, and President Jair Bolsonaro continuing to stress on reopening the economy. Brazil has also taken the lead in Central and South America, where it feared the Coronavirus will spread faster in coming weeks.

Russia ranks third in the spread of the virus - 560.279 / 7,638, with much doubts about the actual numbers being reported deceased from the virus. India now ranks fourth in the spread - 366,944 / 12,237, with growing concerns about a much faster spread after the New Delhi government has removed the lockdown regulations.

The UK is fifth with 300,944 infected and deceased exceeding 50,000 - and the Conservative government moving to bring down some of the restrictions on social movement and open schools.

Europe is largely moving to a stage of rapid restoration with most countries, France, Germany, Netherlands, Austria, Norway, Denmark, Greece allowing the opening of shops, schools, malls, saloons, restaurants, and museums. However, there is some concern about the relaxation with Germany, considered the most effective control of the virus in Europe, suddenly showing more than 500 infections at a meat market.

Covid Drug

First drug found to save lives in Covid-19 patients is called dexamethasone, which reduces the risk of dying from Covid-19 by a third for patients on ventilators and by a fifth for those receiving oxygen, according to preliminary results from a randomised clinical trial in the UK.

Dexamethasone is a steroid that is used to reduce inflammation in various conditions, including skin diseases, allergies and asthma. It is one of a range of drugs being tested as a Covid-19 treatment as part of the Recovery trial, which has enrolled more than 11,500 patients across 175 NHS hospitals.

The preliminary results suggest that treatment with dexamethasone could save one life for every eight patients receiving ventilation, and one for every 25 requiring oxygen. Researchers suggest the drug could have saved up to 5,000 lives in the UK if it had been used to treat patients from the start of the pandemic. Dexamethasone should only be taken if prescribed by a doctor.

The Koreas

North Korea has blown up a joint liaison office used for talks between itself and South Korea, the latest sign that ties between the two longtime adversaries are rapidly deteriorating.

North Korean state media reported that the four-storey building, which is located in the town of Kaesong just north of the demilitarized zone that divides the two Koreas, was "completely destroyed by a "terrific explosion".

The liaison office had been closed since January 30 due to the Coronavirus pandemic, according to the South Korean Unification Ministry. The destruction of a building meant to facilitate dialogue, paid for by South Korea and sitting on North Korean soil, is highly symbolic, as it may mark a turning point in relations between two countries that had committed themselves to "a new era of peace" less than three years ago.

North Korea framed its decision to destroy the liaison office as a retaliatory measure after a group of defectors used balloons to send anti-North Korean leaflets north of the DMZ. The North Korean army has said it will send troops into disarmed areas along the border.

North Korean state media article accused the South of breaking 2018 agreements and behaving like a "mongrel dog" - while the sister of Kim Jong-un accused the South's president of being a US "flunkey".

While the South says it remains open for talks, it has condemned the North's actions as senseless and damaging. The South Korean unification minister has offered his resignation over the sharp rise in tensions with the North, taking responsibility for the worsening of inter-Korean relations.


China-India tensions at Galwan Valley


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