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The recent issuance of a set of guidelines/protocols for home isolation of high-risk COVID-19 cases by the state government is greatly appreciated. The high-risk group needs to be properly taken care of. However, as the saying goes, “prevention is better than cure,” so also, strict prohibition of visitors to homes having elderly people and small children, and vice versa, can be considered as a preventive measure, and therefore, the need of the hour.
Man is, no doubt, a social animal but “extraordinary times call for extraordinary measures.” The “from home to home” (“na iing ha iing”-in Khasi dialect) mentality needs to be done away with. This complacent mentality (although not recommended at all) might or rather, could have worked when the state was under a complete or total lockdown. However, people need to keep in mind the prevalence of silent carriers or asymptomatic patients of COVID 19 which can be either “us’ or “them”. The gradual relaxation of the lockdown rules is at our peril, because of which the well-being of our loved ones should be our utmost priority.
Make India a self-sustaining nation
The United States Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has appreciated India’s decision to ban 59 apps with Chinese links and said it will boost India’s integrity and national security. The Union Information and Technology Minister, Ravi Shankar Prasad also invited Indian startups and technical minds to create Made in India apps. These bans present an opportunity for Indian start-ups and bright young minds to leverage their intellectual capability and innovative thinking and come up with good apps. Earlier on, the Central Government launched ‘Make in India’ and ‘Vocal for Local.’ It is creating opportunities for the common man to develop technology, goods, and services at the local level. It would be better that we support government initiatives to make the nation strong and self-sustaining.
Amit Singh Kushwaha,
At this time of pandemic which has severely affected the daily wage earners and petty shop owners, high handedness of CRPF personnel in the 4th Furlong area of Shillong has caused much consternation amongst the poor and marginalized people of the area and threatening their livelihoods. Last year, CRPF authority had illegally erected barbed wire structures on the PWD road all along the boundary wall of their campus at 4th Furlong area putting the life of motorists and pedestrians in danger. However, on bringing the matter to the notice of state PWD through your esteemed daily (Letter to the editor July, 16 2019 edition) CRPF authority had no other option but to remove the illegal structures. Recently Shillong Traffic Police (STP) has put up a ‘No Parking’ board in the entire stretch of road along the wall of CRPF campus. Since the area is dotted with small shops/kiosks, two-wheelers repairing shops etc, many customers stop their cars/two wheeler for few minutes without disturbing the free flow of traffic. But the over-enthusiastic CRPF personnel immediately appear in the scene to intimidate and on few occasions have reportedly assaulted the civilians.
Is the CRPF authorised to assault or intimidate civilians for stopping vehicles in a ‘No Parking Zone’? Since STP has put the ‘No Parking’ board it is their duty to take appropriate action against the violators as per the Motor Vehicles Act and the CRPF personnel have no authority whatsoever in this regard. Such illegal action by CRPF needs to be stopped immediately for the sake of civility. Our policy makers were very right while locating barracks of armed and paramilitary forces far away from civilian areas just to avoid such undue interference into civilian domain.
Name withheld on request,
China’s coercive diplomacy & India’s response
Given China’s unrelenting stance on the Line of Actual Control(LAC) in Ladakh, India will have to consider a military pushback. India has no option but to use force. Both sides have agreed for limited “de-escalation” from some of the friction points. However, it was during this de-escalation process in the Galwan Valley that the clash occurred. India is now taking the Chinese build-up along the LAC seriously. India has been consistently demanding the restoration of status quo and de-induction of forces built up by China along the LAC.
However, deciding on a military action against China is not easy for India. Such an action could escalate to a full scale war that can result in not only military consequences, but also long-term political, economic and diplomatic impacts. However, the Modi government is not worried about the consequences of a military pushback. Both action and inaction have their consequences. Inaction may have short-term benefits but it has long-term consequences. It is a fact that both inaction and indecision have hurt India’s foreign policy and security interests. True, it is not advisable to consider war against a stronger enemy. But India must be ready to cope with the situation. Three factors that influence a military action by India need to be considered too. First, China is much more powerful than India but at the LAC the forces are equally strong. Second, India’s weakness is advantageous to it because anything other than a victory will be a loss to China. Finally, avoidance of a war by India may create an impression that it is irresolute and that may embolden China. If China is left unchallenged, it will push India again. India must show resolve if its immediate goal is deterrence.
Adequate military preparation is required for a military pushback. Indian military has traditionally been oriented for defensive military action at the LAC, not offensive. India must also consider the scenario that China does not back down. If such a situation arises, it must follow through with its threat. If not, India will risk damage to its credibility. India must never yield to China’s coercive diplomacy. China has baited India. A quick and emotional response would be a strategic folly. India must counter bait China by the strategy of maintaining the status quo.