CRISES ON MANY FRONTS

While India is faced with a growing concern over Covid-19, the Modi government is testing its patience on several fronts. Granted that only over 10 cities are the main hotbeds of the virus attack, but, the steady rise in Covid figures, both in terms of infections and deaths, is a matter of serious worry. With transport, train and flight services resuming, chances are also that the infection rates would see a spiral in the coming weeks.

Karnataka has asked for a halt to trains bringing in people from Mumbai and some other regions, as it noticed a spike in numbers after trains started arriving. West Bengal is similarly worried. Karnataka was game, however, about packing off the maximum migrant workers in trains out of the state.

While the Covid threat looms large, the attention of the Modi government is shifting to a Chinese offensive in Ladakh, at the height of several border intrusions from the red nation. India has not taken the matter lightly, and has deployed its forces in strength there. There is little chance of it blowing into a major row and matters might be sorted out through discussions. That’s how Xi Jinping conducted himself as Chinese leader, or in his recent avatar as supreme leader with all powers vested in him for life. That gives him the elbow room for adjustments in diplomacy or neighbourly relations too.

It is a matter of concern, also, that the interception of a highly lethal bomb-laden car in Pulwama district on Thursday morning confirmed a tip-off that a Pulwama-like attack was about to be staged in the district. It was in February last year that some 40 CRPF personnel were killed in a car bomb explosion on a security convoy. Clearly, Pakistani agencies like ISI are up to more mischief; and they have not learnt any lesson from the Balakot air strikes. The six years of the Modi government saw frequent offensives from the Pakistani side, a virtual proxy war involving men trained by the Pakistani army camouflaging themselves as terrorists. The idea is to promote the Kashmiri cause and to bleed India with a thousand wounds.

Another worry is on the Nepal front. The ‘map offensive’ by Nepal’s prime minister KP Sharma Oli, is now having a pause, and the issue might be “sorted out” through deft diplomacy. Yet, this too remains a matter of concern for the government. And the crisis of all crises, the economic downturn, also requires urgent attention.

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