Pre-COVID Fiction: India Wins US-China War Imagined For 2034

In a recently published fiction imagined for 2034 by former top US Admiral James Stavridis and Elliot Ackerman, China and the United States go to war that ends in India's victory. The authors portray Indians as heroes whose statesmen-ship de-escalates World War III, negotiates peace and helps India emerge as the new global superpower. Patel, the Indian uncle of the Indian-American deputy national security advisor Sandeep Chowdhury tells him, "America’s hubris has finally gotten the better of its greatness." The authors imagine the United Nations headquarters moves from New York to Mumbai after the war. Had this book been written after watching thousands of Indian victims of COVID19 gasping for breath and dying daily on the streets of New Delhi, I think Ackerman and Stavridis would have conceived  and developed a completely different plot line for their novel.  

2034 Book Cover


Elliot Ackerman and James Stavridis, authors of "2034: A Novel of the Next World War", imagine a series of incidents in South China Sea and the Persian Gulf. These incidents trigger cyber warfare, global internet outages and the use of tactical nuclear weapons fired from warplanes and warships. The military conflict results in millions of deaths in the cities of San Diego and Shanghai. India intervenes at this point by attacking and destroying Chinese and American fighter planes and ships to stop the war. 

The end of active fighting is followed by New Delhi Peace Accords arranged by the Indian government. The United Nations headquarters is moved from New York to Mumbai. At one point in the conflict, the authors have Patel lecture his nephew Sandeep Chowdhury, the US deputy national security advisor: 

"America’s hubris has finally gotten the better of its greatness. You’ve squandered your blood and treasure to what end? For freedom of navigation in the South China Sea? For the sovereignty of Taiwan? Isn’t the world large enough for your government and Beijing’s? Perhaps you’ll win this war. But for what? To be like the British after the Second World War, your empire dismantled, your society in retreat? And millions of dead on both sides?"

Rising Positivity Rates of COVID19 Tests in South Asia. Source: Our World in Data

Some reviewers of the book have speculated that China may want to take Taiwan by force for one particular technology company, the Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company (TSMC) which is currently the world's most advanced semiconductor technology company. Semiconductor components underlie all cutting edge applications from artificial intelligence (AI) and smartphones to self-driving cars and advanced military equipment. 

The possibility of war between China and the United States can not be dismissed. However, the book's portrayal of India's emergence as a global superpower is pure fantasy.  Had this book been written after watching thousands of Indian victims of COVID19 gasping for breath and dying daily on the streets of New Delhi, Ackerman and Stavridis would have conceived  and developed a completely different plot line for their novel.  

Related Links:

Haq's Musings

South Asia Investor Review

India Tops World Hunger Charts

Is India Superpoor or Superpower?

Rape as a Political Weapon Used By Hindutva

Hindu Nationalism Inspired By Nazism, Fascism

Rise of Islamophobia After Sept 11, 2001 Terrorist Attacks

700,000 Indian Soldiers Versus 7 Million Kashmiris

Modi's Kashmir Blunder and India-Pakistan Nuclear Conflict

Is India a Paper Elephant? 

Howdy Modi Rally Exposes Indian-Americans to Charges of Hypocrisy

Modi's Extended Lockdown in Indian Occupied Kashmir

Hinduization of India

Brievik's Hindutva Rhetoric

Indian Textbooks

India's RAW's Successes in Pakistan

Riaz Haq Youtube Channel

VPOS Youtube Channel

Comments

Riaz Haq said…
#India's Scientists Beg #Modi to Stop Hiding #COVID Data amid fear that info on variants, tests carried out, recovered patients & #vaccine efficacy secret suggests that the 18.7 million cases reported and 208,330 deaths might be a radical understatement https://www.thedailybeast.com/indian-scientists-beg-narendra-modi-to-release-data-on-covid-19-variants?source=twitter&via=desktop

More than 350 scientists in India have signed a petition begging Prime Minister Narendra Modi to publicly release crucial COVID-19 data in a desperate attempt to mitigate the spread and predict the next surge.

Some fear that Modi’s desire to keep such vital information on variants, tests carried out, recovered patients and vaccine efficacy secret suggests that the 18.7 million cases reported and 208,330 deaths might be a radical understatement of the scale of the problem.


India logged an astonishing 386,452 new cases Friday as new appeals for more space and firewood for cremations compounded the lack of hospital beds and oxygen.

The petition asks Modi to release “granular” data, the Associated Press reports. That data could be used to help mitigate future surges to better prepare with hospital beds, oxygen and even intensive care units. Without sufficient data, scientists are unable to do anything but stand by and watch the situation get worse.

The appeal also blames Modi’s drive to make India self reliant by importing medical raw materials rather than full vaccines and supplies, calling his government’s actions an obstacle. “Such restrictions, at this time, only serve to impede our ability to deal with COVID-19,” the appeal says, according to the AP.

India’s army chief M.M. Naravane has also offered the use of military hospitals to help take pressure off public facilities, telling desperate families to go to nearby bases to ask for help in a move that Modi originally resisted.

Starting Saturday, all Indian citizens over 18 will eligible for a vaccine where they are available. Health Minister Harash Vardhan said aid sent by 40 countries has started to take some pressure off the collapsed health system. On Friday, the first of the the $100 million worth of supplies from the U.S. arrived, including a first shipment of the pledged 1,000 oxygen cylinders, 15 million N95 masks and 1 million rapid antigen tests.
Riaz Haq said…
#COVID Test Positivity Rate in Double Digits in #SouthAsia: #India 21.2%, #Pakistan 10.2% https://ourworldindata.org/coronavirus/country/pakistan?country=~PAK


https://twitter.com/haqsmusings/status/1388693540323004421?s=20
Riaz Haq said…
#India’s #Modi’s rise and failures as seen through Time Magazine Covers 2014-2021. #BJP #Hindutva #India #COVID

https://twitter.com/haqsmusings/status/1388705221921034243?s=20
Riaz Haq said…
#Modi’s #BJP party loses #WestBengalElections2021 by a wide margin amid #COVID19 #pandemic; #India sees 3,689 deaths , a new record in 24 hours. There were 390,000 new infections in 24 hour period. #CoronavirusPandemic #ModiResign #MamataBanerjee https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/2021/05/02/india-covid-coronavirus-vaccine-election/?tid=ss_tw

The holding of elections over the past month even as the number of new cases mushroomed has drawn scrutiny in India. The Madras High Court even went as far as to slam the country’s Election Commission for not stopping political rallies that were flouting coronavirus protocols. Chief Justice Sanjib Banerjee called the organization “singularly responsible” for the new surge in cases.

During the past month, Prime Minister Narendra Modi held several massive campaign rallies attended by tens of thousands of people in the eastern state of West Bengal where his party, the Bharatiya Janata Party, or the BJP, was in a close race with an opposition party led by a woman. Modi and his powerful deputy, Amit Shah, addressed more than 50 rallies in Bengal, according to NDTV.

By evening, it was clear Modi’s party had lost the bitterly fought election battle. The BJP was on track to lose in two other south Indian states where they weren’t in the reckoning. The party is set to retain power in the state of Assam.

Modi has been panned by critics for sending the wrong message by holding rallies at a time when India was on its way to becoming the worst-affected country in the world by the pandemic, but losses in these elections may signify only a limited test of the impact of the unfolding crisis on his support.

Mamata Banerjee, the chief minister of Bengal, known for her streetfighter reputation, asked her supporters to remain at home. “Covid is my first priority,” Bannerjee said in her victory speech. The state capital, Kolkata, has in recent days seen a climbing positivity rate with every second person being tested for the coronavirus turning out to be positive.
Riaz Haq said…
Indian Billionaire Mukesh Ambani's Reliance Industries, considered a bellwether for the broader #Indian #economy, warns of more pain unless the surge in #coronavirus cases is quickly curbed. #India #Modi #BJP #COVID19 #Hindutva #Islamophobia https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2021-04-30/ambani-s-reliance-flags-economic-pain-as-virus-devastates-india via @markets

Reliance Industries Ltd., India’s largest company by market value and one that’s considered a bellwether for the broader economy, said it hasn’t escaped a devastating new wave of the coronavirus and warned of more pain unless the surge is quickly curbed.

“The outbreak of coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic globally and in India is causing significant disturbance and slowdown of economic activity. The Group’s operations and revenue during the period were impacted due to COVID-19,” the company, led by Mukesh Ambani, Asia’s richest person, said in a footnote in its earnings statement Friday. It added that the group has accounted for the possible impact of the outbreak in preparing its financial results.


The disclosure underscores the impact India’s deep humanitarian and health care crisis is having on its citizens -- billionaires or not -- either through desperate pleas on social media for oxygen or via the earnings of large conglomerates. India has reported more than 300,000 new infections for the last nine days, making it the world’s fastest surging outbreak that can potentially derail the nation’s economy.

‘It’s Like a War’: Inside an India Hospital Desperate for Oxygen


Reliance, whose earnings missed analysts estimates for the March quarter, has signaled more pain in the days ahead unless the virus wave peaks out soon.

“Fresh lockdowns will impact demand growth for fuels,” V. Srikanth, the company’s joint chief financial officer said in the post-earnings call Friday, adding that the resurgence of infections in end of March had hurt the business.

Footfalls in Reliance’s retail stores dropped to 40% of pre-Covid levels in April compared to 88% in the March quarter, according to Dinesh Thapar, who heads Reliance’s retail unit. “We have reshaped our priorities for this quarter to address new Covid wave challenge,” Anshuman Thakur, head of strategy at Reliance Jio Infocomm Ltd. told reporters.
Riaz Haq said…
Is There a War Coming Between China and the U.S.?

by Tom Friedman

https://www.nytimes.com/2021/04/27/opinion/china-us-2034.html


.....just a few miles away from China sits the largest and most sophisticated contract chip maker in the world: Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company. According to the Congressional Research Service, TSMC is one of only three manufacturers in the world that fabricate the most advanced semiconductor chips — and by far the biggest. The second and third are Samsung and Intel

Most chip designers, like IBM, Qualcomm, Nvidia, AMD (and even Intel to some extent) now use TSMC and Samsung to make the microprocessors they design.

But, just as important, three of the five companies that make the super-sophisticated lithography machines, tools and software used by TSMC and others to actually make the microchips — Applied Materials, Lam Research Corporation and KLA Corporation — are based in the United States. (The other two are Dutch and Japanese.) China largely lacks this expertise.

As such, the American government has the leverage to restrict TSMC from making advanced chips for Chinese companies. Indeed, just two weeks ago, the U.S. made TSMC suspend new orders from seven Chinese supercomputing centers suspected of assisting in the country’s weapons development.


The South China Morning Post quoted Francis Lau, a University of Hong Kong computer scientist, as saying: “The sanctions would definitely affect China’s ability to keep to its leading position in supercomputing,” because all of its current supercomputers mostly use processors from Intel or designed by AMD and IBM and manufactured by TSMC. Although there are Korean and Japanese alternatives, Lau added, they are not as powerful.

China, though, is doubling down on research in the physics, nanotechnology and material sciences that will drive the next generation of chips and chip-making equipment. But it could take China a decade or more to reach the cutting edge.

That’s why — today — as much as China wants Taiwan for reasons of ideology, it wants TSMC in the pocket of Chinese military industries for reasons of strategy. And as much as U.S. strategists are committed to preserving Taiwan’s democracy, they are even more committed to ensuring that TSMC doesn’t fall into China’s hands for reasons of strategy. (TSMC is now building a new semiconductor factory in Phoenix.) Because, in a digitizing world, he who controls the best chip maker will control … a lot.

Just read “2034.” In the novel, China gains the technological edge with superior A.I.-driven cybercloaking, satellite spoofing and stealth materials. It’s then able to launch a successful surprise attack on the U.S. Pacific Fleet.

And the first thing China does is seize Taiwan.

Let’s make sure that stays the stuff of fiction.

Riaz Haq said…
Chip shortage highlights U.S. dependence on fragile supply chain - 60 Minutes - CBS News

https://www.cbsnews.com/news/semiconductor-chip-shortage-60-minutes-2021-05-02/


Lesley Stahl: Should Americans be concerned that most chips are being manufactured in Asia today?

Mark Liu: I understand their concern, first of all. But this is not about Asia or not Asia I mean, the shortage will happen no matter where the production is located because it's due to the COVID.

Lesley Stahl: But Pat Gelsinger at Intel talks about a need to rebalance the supply chain issue because so much, so many of the chips in the world now are made in Asia.

Mark Liu: I think U.S. ought to pursue to run faster, to invest in R&D, to produce more Ph.D., master, bachelor students to get into this manufacturing field instead of trying to move the supply chain, which is very costly and really non productive. That will slow down the innovation because-- people trying to hold on their technology to their own and forsake the global collaboration.

Within the world of global collaboration there's intense competition. Days after Intel announced spending $20 billion on two new fabs, TSMC announced it would spend $100 billion over three years on R&D, upgrades, and a new fab in Phoenix, Arizona, Intel's backyard, where the Taiwanese company will produce the chips Apple needs but the Americans can't make.

Mark Liu: That was a big investment.

But there's a looming shadow over TSMC, which supplies chips for our cars, iPhones, and the supercomputer managing our nuclear stockpile: China's President Xi Jinping, who has intensified his long-time threat to seize Taiwan.

China's attempts to develop its own advanced chip industry have failed and so it's been forced to import chips. But last year, Washington imposed restrictions on chipmakers from exporting certain semiconductors to china. Both Liu and Gelsinger fear the escalating trade war with China may backfire, and in Intel's case: could hurt business.

Lesley Stahl: Are they your biggest customer?

Pat Gelsinger: China is one of our largest markets today. You know, over 25% of our revenue is to Chinese customers. We expect that this will remain an area of tension, and one that needs to be navigated carefully. Because if there's any points that people can't keep running their countries or running their businesses because of supply of one critical component like semiconductors, boy, that leads them to take very extreme postures on things because they have to.

The most extreme would be China invading Taiwan and in the process gaining control of TSMC. That could force the U.S. to defend Taiwan as we did Kuwait from the Iraqis 30 years ago. Then it was oil. Now it's chips.

Lesley Stahl: The chip industry in Taiwan has been called the Silicon Shield.

Mark Liu: Yes.

Lesley Stahl: What does that mean?

Mark Liu: That means the world all needs Taiwan's high-tech industry support. So they will not let the war happen in this region because it goes against interest of every country in the world.

Lesley Stahl: Do you think that in any way your industry is keeping Taiwan safe?

Mark Liu: I cannot comment on the safety. I mean, this is a changing world. Nobody want these things to happen. And I hope-- I hope not too-- either.

Riaz Haq said…
On CBS 60 Minutes show aired May 2, 2021, Intel CEO Pat Gelsinger speculated about unilateral US technology sanctions against China triggering "extreme postures". CBS reporter expanded on it by talking about "China invading Taiwan and in the process gaining control of TSMC", She said, "The most extreme would be China invading Taiwan and in the process gaining control of TSMC. That could force the U.S. to defend Taiwan as we did Kuwait from the Iraqis 30 years ago. Then it was oil. Now it's chips".

https://www.cbsnews.com/news/semiconductor-chip-shortage-60-minutes-2021-05-02/


Why has US fallen behind? It can mainly be attributed to Intel's failure to stay ahead s a result.

Intel has recently fired its Indian-American chief engineer Venkata Murthy Renduchintala, who also served as Group President of the Technology, Systems Architecture and Client Group (TSCG), for failure to deliver 7 nanometer semiconductor technology on schedule, according to Reuters. The news has knocked the market value of Intel by tens of billions dollars. The American company, the biggest global chip manufacturer with in-house fabrication plants, has also decided to outsource manufacturing. This could deal a serious blow to America's global leadership in chip manufacturing which is fundamental to all other computer and communications related technologies.

https://www.riazhaq.com/2020/07/has-intels-indian-american-techie.html
Riaz Haq said…
Shortage of #semiconductors, dubbed the 'new oil,' could dent #GDP growth, boost #inflation. "While semiconductors account for only 0.3% of US output, they are an important production input to 12% of GDP” #technology #SiliconValley #Intel #TSMC #Samsung https://cnb.cx/2RVCitw


KEY POINTS
A variety of factors have converged to make coveted semiconductors scarce.
Goldman Sachs says the GDP hit from the shortage could be 0.5% this year while price increases could hit 3% for affected goods.
TS Lombard economist Rory Green calls semis the “new oil” for the global impact that disruptions can cause.

Economic growth could slow and inflation is likely to see at least a momentary bump higher as the semiconductor shortage worsens, economists say.

A variety of factors have converged to make the coveted computer chips scarce. Soaring demand coupled with supply bottlenecks have led to a situation in which orders for everything from cars to televisions to touch-screen computers and more are on backup for six months or more.

With semis at the core of so much U.S. economic activity, the ongoing supply problems are likely to have ripples.

Goldman Sachs economists say that for the bulk of 2021, the shortage will translate into an inflationary tax that could result in prices rising as much as 3% for affected goods. That would boost inflation as much as 0.4 percentage points through the rest of the year, the firm said.

“Taken together, while we see relatively modest implications of the semiconductor shortage for GDP growth and the industrial sector, it represents another reason to expect core goods inflation to remain firm this year,” Goldman economist Spencer Hill said in a note.

Even though the hit won’t cause a dramatic slowdown to an economy expected to roar in 2021, the impact could still be noticeable. Goldman said the impact could reach as high as a 1% subtraction from activity, but likely will be closer to 0.5%.

Disruptions to the ‘new oil’
“While semiconductors account for only 0.3% of US output, they are an important production input to 12% of GDP,” Hill said, nothing that the shortage could cut auto production by 2% to 6% this year.

Indeed, multiple automakers have curtailed production due to lack of chips vital to their vehicles.

Stellantis NV said it will be temporarily laying off workers at its Detroit Jeep plant, while Volvo also has said the chip issues will cause it to shut some plants until the situation is resolved.

The knock-on impacts of any disruptions in the semiconductor industry are becoming increasingly apparent.

“As the world becomes more interconnected, more automated and greener, each unit of GDP growth will contain a higher content of semiconductors. Integrated circuits are becoming the key commodity input for economic activity,” wrote TS Lombard economist Rory Green.

Green calls semis the “new oil” for the global impact that disruptions can cause.

“The current severe shortage of semiconductors, which is halting automotive production worldwide, underscores the speed and scale of the changes under way,” he said. “Chips have always been an important part for manufacturing and consumer electronics, but their use will broaden to transport and digital services.”

Still, Goldman’s Hill said the inflationary impact likely won’t last far as supply increases later this year and into 2022. But the shortage now “represents another reason to expect core goods inflation to remain firm this year,” he said.
Riaz Haq said…
#India #Covid Crisis: The End of #Modi’s Global Dreams. The mishandling of the #pandemic has dealt #NewDelhi a weaker hand in ongoing talks with #Islamabad and border negotiations with #Beijing. #BJP #Coronavirus #Hindutva #Islamophobia #China #Pakistan https://foreignpolicy.com/2021/05/03/india-vishwaguru-modi-second-wave-soft-power-self-sufficiency/


Indians are currently dealing with a humanitarian catastrophe of Modi’s making. New Delhi’s ambitions to be a global power have been dealt a blow. Under Modi, Jaishankar once boasted, diplomacy “is having many balls up in the air at the same time and displaying the confidence and dexterity to drop none.” Now that all the balls are lying on the floor, the country will need humility, honesty, and extraordinary effort to pick them up and start again.
-----------------

Modi, who has consistently campaigned on virulent nationalism captured by the slogan “Atmanirbhar Bharat” (or self-reliant India), has been forced to abruptly change policy. Last week, with images of people dying on roads without oxygen and crematoriums for pet dogs being used for humans’ last rites as the second wave of the COVID-19 pandemic overwhelmed the country, his government accepted offers of help from nearly 40 other nations. Its diplomats have lobbied with foreign governments for oxygen plants and tankers, the arrival of medicines, and other supplies hailed on social media. “We have given assistance; we are getting assistance,” said Harsh Vardhan Shringla, the country’s top diplomat, to justify the embarrassing U-turn. “It shows an interdependent world. It shows a world that is working with each other.”

The world may be working with each other, but it is not working for Modi in the realm of foreign policy. Rather, this is a moment of reckoning, triggered by the rampaging coronavirus. After seven years as prime minister, Modi’s hyper-nationalistic domestic agenda—including his ambition of making the country a “Vishwaguru” (or master to the world)—now lies in tatters.

India, which has been envisaged since former U.S. President Donald Trump’s administration became the Quadrilateral Security Dialogue’s lynchpin and focused other efforts in the Indo-Pacific strategy to counter China, will have to work harder to justify that role. Meanwhile, China has redoubled its efforts in India’s neighborhood since the second wave began, strengthening its existing ties with South Asian countries and contrasting its strength and reliability with India’s limitations.

----------------

In March, when the second wave of the pandemic started unfolding in India, Jaishankar’s ministry was busy issuing official statements and organizing social media storms against popstar Rihanna and climate change activist Greta Thunberg. On Thursday, at the peak of the health crisis, Jaishankar’s focus in a meeting with all the Indian ambassadors to various global capitals was on countering the so-called “one-sided” narrative in international media, which said Modi’s government had failed the country by its “incompetent” handling of the second pandemic wave.

Until recently, Jaishankar was also the most enthusiastic promoter of the government’s Vaccine Maitri (or “Vaccine Friendship”) program, under which New Delhi supplied around 66.4 million doses of the India-made AstraZeneca vaccine to 95 countries in packing boxes marked prominently with large pictures of Modi. These vaccines were either commercially contracted, given as bilateral grants, or transferred under the World Health Organization’s COVID-19 Vaccines Global Access (COVAX) scheme for poorer countries. Meanwhile, India’s own vaccination rollout has been dismal. Around 2 percent of Indians have been fully vaccinated, despite the country being the world’s biggest vaccine manufacturer—a misstep that has emerged as one of the key culprits for India’s uncontrolled second wave.

Riaz Haq said…
#India #Covid Crisis: The End of #Modi’s Global Dreams. The mishandling of the #pandemic has dealt #NewDelhi a weaker hand in ongoing talks with #Islamabad and border negotiations with #Beijing. #BJP #Coronavirus #Hindutva #Islamophobia #China #Pakistan https://foreignpolicy.com/2021/05/03/india-vishwaguru-modi-second-wave-soft-power-self-sufficiency/


Indians are currently dealing with a humanitarian catastrophe of Modi’s making. New Delhi’s ambitions to be a global power have been dealt a blow. Under Modi, Jaishankar once boasted, diplomacy “is having many balls up in the air at the same time and displaying the confidence and dexterity to drop none.” Now that all the balls are lying on the floor, the country will need humility, honesty, and extraordinary effort to pick them up and start again.
-----------

-------------------

Modi, who has consistently campaigned on virulent nationalism captured by the slogan “Atmanirbhar Bharat” (or self-reliant India), has been forced to abruptly change policy. Last week, with images of people dying on roads without oxygen and crematoriums for pet dogs being used for humans’ last rites as the second wave of the COVID-19 pandemic overwhelmed the country, his government accepted offers of help from nearly 40 other nations. Its diplomats have lobbied with foreign governments for oxygen plants and tankers, the arrival of medicines, and other supplies hailed on social media. “We have given assistance; we are getting assistance,” said Harsh Vardhan Shringla, the country’s top diplomat, to justify the embarrassing U-turn. “It shows an interdependent world. It shows a world that is working with each other.”

The world may be working with each other, but it is not working for Modi in the realm of foreign policy. Rather, this is a moment of reckoning, triggered by the rampaging coronavirus. After seven years as prime minister, Modi’s hyper-nationalistic domestic agenda—including his ambition of making the country a “Vishwaguru” (or master to the world)—now lies in tatters.

India, which has been envisaged since former U.S. President Donald Trump’s administration became the Quadrilateral Security Dialogue’s lynchpin and focused other efforts in the Indo-Pacific strategy to counter China, will have to work harder to justify that role. Meanwhile, China has redoubled its efforts in India’s neighborhood since the second wave began, strengthening its existing ties with South Asian countries and contrasting its strength and reliability with India’s limitations.

----------------

In March, when the second wave of the pandemic started unfolding in India, Jaishankar’s ministry was busy issuing official statements and organizing social media storms against popstar Rihanna and climate change activist Greta Thunberg. On Thursday, at the peak of the health crisis, Jaishankar’s focus in a meeting with all the Indian ambassadors to various global capitals was on countering the so-called “one-sided” narrative in international media, which said Modi’s government had failed the country by its “incompetent” handling of the second pandemic wave.

Until recently, Jaishankar was also the most enthusiastic promoter of the government’s Vaccine Maitri (or “Vaccine Friendship”) program, under which New Delhi supplied around 66.4 million doses of the India-made AstraZeneca vaccine to 95 countries in packing boxes marked prominently with large pictures of Modi. These vaccines were either commercially contracted, given as bilateral grants, or transferred under the World Health Organization’s COVID-19 Vaccines Global Access (COVAX) scheme for poorer countries. Meanwhile, India’s own vaccination rollout has been dismal. Around 2 percent of Indians have been fully vaccinated, despite the country being the world’s biggest vaccine manufacturer—a misstep that has emerged as one of the key culprits for India’s uncontrolled second wave.
Riaz Haq said…
#Indian #Americans Don’t Know What to Feel Right Now. Sheer govt negligence is compounding the feelings of déjà vu. Anger toward #Trump administration, which downplayed the threat of the #virus, has been replaced by rage over #Modi’s response. #COVID19 https://www.theatlantic.com/health/archive/2021/05/indian-american-covid-pandemic/618748/

Although no Indian is spared from this virus, marginalized communities such as Dalits—the low-caste workers who are keeping the country’s crematoria and other essential services running day and night—are facing the brunt of the disaster in India. By contrast, many Indian Americans come from middle-to-upper-class and privileged upper-caste communities. Sruti Suryanarayanan, the communications and research associate at the nonprofit South Asian Americans Leading Together, hopes that the crisis will become an inflection point for Indian Americans to confront difficult questions about privilege, home, and belonging.

----------------

As family members in India face the catastrophe, relatives who have lived through waves of the devastating pandemic in America are trying to offer emotional and psychological support for what lies ahead. Shindé, who was based in New York last spring, has been remembering the weeks when the city became the world’s epicenter. Days before her aunt Vijaya’s death, Shindé texted her: “You’re going to get better and dance at our wedding party 💃🏾💃🏾💃🏾!!” On the same day, she texted her mom in India that Vijaya might not pull through. “We saw this in NYC,” she wrote. “There were signs of improvement, and they just slipped.”


--------

In some instances, sheer government negligence is compounding the feelings of déjà vu. Shindé’s anger toward the Trump administration, which downplayed the threat of the virus, has been replaced by rage over Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s response, which she calls “a mirror image of what we went through last year.” In February, India’s ruling party claimed that the country had defeated the virus before Modi plowed forward with massive preelection rallies.

Out of the guilt and confusion of this moment, many in the diaspora are searching for ways to help. Indian Americans make up the wealthiest immigrant community in the country, and have been using their clout in tech and politics to push the U.S. government to act. The Biden administration, which was initially slow to respond to the growing crisis in India, this week promised to immediately begin delivering AstraZeneca vaccine doses, ventilators, coronavirus tests, personal protective equipment, and other materials to India. The outcry from the Indian American community has had “an enormous” impact on the government’s response, says Ashish Jha, the dean of the Brown University School of Public Health, who has been among those pressuring the Biden administration.

----


Like everyone I interviewed for this story, I too am oscillating between waves of emotions—anger, helplessness, and guilt—as reports come in from my family in India. In recent weeks, at least two relatives have tested positive for the virus. Although I can look forward to picnics in the park this summer, India’s parks are becoming grave sites. All the justified optimism around me now feels unjust and even irresponsible. For many of us with friends and family around the world, the trauma feels like a never-ending loop: When your immediate situation improves, another loved one enters a crisis.

Shindé is mourning the loss of her relatives, but she is also mourning her homeland. As an immigrant, “you’re always living half in nostalgia,” she said. “In a state of having lost your home, you carry a sadness with you. And I think there’s these moments that just heighten that in a way that is powerless. Everything that has shaped you as a child is there. You feel just lost; your family is lost.”
Riaz Haq said…
#Indian #Americans Don’t Know What to Feel Right Now. Sheer govt negligence is compounding the feelings of déjà vu. Anger toward #Trump administration, which downplayed the threat of the #virus, has been replaced by rage over #Modi’s response. #COVID19 https://www.theatlantic.com/health/archive/2021/05/indian-american-covid-pandemic/618748/

by Prachi Gupta

Like everyone I interviewed for this story, I too am oscillating between waves of emotions—anger, helplessness, and guilt—as reports come in from my family in India. In recent weeks, at least two relatives have tested positive for the virus. Although I can look forward to picnics in the park this summer, India’s parks are becoming grave sites. All the justified optimism around me now feels unjust and even irresponsible. For many of us with friends and family around the world, the trauma feels like a never-ending loop: When your immediate situation improves, another loved one enters a crisis.

Shindé is mourning the loss of her relatives, but she is also mourning her homeland. As an immigrant, “you’re always living half in nostalgia,” she said. “In a state of having lost your home, you carry a sadness with you. And I think there’s these moments that just heighten that in a way that is powerless. Everything that has shaped you as a child is there. You feel just lost; your family is lost.”

----------


In some instances, sheer government negligence is compounding the feelings of déjà vu. Shindé’s anger toward the Trump administration, which downplayed the threat of the virus, has been replaced by rage over Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s response, which she calls “a mirror image of what we went through last year.” In February, India’s ruling party claimed that the country had defeated the virus before Modi plowed forward with massive preelection rallies.

Out of the guilt and confusion of this moment, many in the diaspora are searching for ways to help. Indian Americans make up the wealthiest immigrant community in the country, and have been using their clout in tech and politics to push the U.S. government to act. The Biden administration, which was initially slow to respond to the growing crisis in India, this week promised to immediately begin delivering AstraZeneca vaccine doses, ventilators, coronavirus tests, personal protective equipment, and other materials to India. The outcry from the Indian American community has had “an enormous” impact on the government’s response, says Ashish Jha, the dean of the Brown University School of Public Health, who has been among those pressuring the Biden administration.

Although no Indian is spared from this virus, marginalized communities such as Dalits—the low-caste workers who are keeping the country’s crematoria and other essential services running day and night—are facing the brunt of the disaster in India. By contrast, many Indian Americans come from middle-to-upper-class and privileged upper-caste communities. Sruti Suryanarayanan, the communications and research associate at the nonprofit South Asian Americans Leading Together, hopes that the crisis will become an inflection point for Indian Americans to confront difficult questions about privilege, home, and belonging.
Riaz Haq said…

#India #COVID19 Crisis: #Coronavirus is killing 120 people an hour in India, and it could stay "really grim" for months. Hospital beds, doctors and nurses, ventilators, oxygen and medicines are all in short supply despite massive foreign aid pouring in. https://www.cbsnews.com/news/india-covid-crisis-deaths-vaccine-oxygen/

A month after the second wave of coronavirus infections started sweeping over India, the country is mired in grief, and it could be weeks, even months before the situation improves. On Tuesday, yet another grim milestone was crossed: 20 million cases of COVID-19 registered since the start of the pandemic. About seven million of those were confirmed over the last month alone.


Of the total 222,000 confirmed coronavirus deaths in the country, more than 57,000 have been recorded over the last month. That's about 80 deaths per hour, and as the government's toll only includes COVID deaths registered in hospitals, many believe the real toll is far higher. Even the official death rate has continued to climb. Over the last two weeks, the virus has claimed about 120 lives every hour, on average.

"I have lost all hope," Lily Priyamvada Pant, told CBS News at a crematorium in Delhi on Sunday. She had just watched her 40-year-old son's funeral pyre burn. Her whole family caught the virus, and her husband was still in an intensive care unit, unaware that his eldest son had succumbed to the disease.

"Doctors told me if you tell him, he will not survive," she said. "He is the CEO of a company and director of many companies… but he could help with nothing."

The feeling of helplessness is familiar in India's cities now, and there's no sign yet that the dizzying infection rate is about start falling quickly. The sheer number of people suffering with the disease has crippled the country's health care system, even in its wealthiest mega-cities.

There were reports on Tuesday that dozens of U.S. Embassy staff in Delhi were among the latest confirmed infections, but an embassy spokesperson told CBS News that while the health and safety of staff and their families was "among the [State] Department's highest priorities," and that it would "take all necessary measures to safeguard the health and wellbeing of our employees, including offering vaccines," they could not confirm details due to privacy concerns.

Hospital beds, doctors and nurses, ventilators, oxygen and medicines have all been in short supply. Almost a month after CBS News first reported on those shortages — and despite government claims that there is no oxygen shortage, and the fact that tons of foreign medical aid has started to arrive — there has been no meaningful improvement in the supply of these necessities.

But while people continue to die daily for a simple lack of oxygen, experts are increasingly worried about another shortage: vaccines.

Riaz Haq said…
#India's #G7 Delegation Led by its Top Diplomat #Jaishankar Forced To Self-Isolate in #London After Testing Positive to #COVID19. Jaishankar has met #Blinken and other FMs since arriving in #UK. #coronavirus #pandemic #Modi #BJP https://www.npr.org/sections/coronavirus-live-updates/2021/05/05/993793333/india-g-7-delegation-forced-to-self-isolate-after-positive-coronavirus-tests?utm_campaign=storyshare&utm_source=twitter.com&utm_medium=social

"We deeply regret that Foreign Minister Jaishankar will be unable to attend the meeting today in person but will now attend virtually, but this is exactly why we have put in place strict COVID protocols and daily testing," a senior British diplomat was quoted by Reuters as saying.

Jaishankar's meeting Monday with Blinken was their first in-person meeting since the Biden administration assumed office. U.K. Home Secretary Priti Patel also met Tuesday with Jaishankar, tweeting a photo of them wearing masks.

The news of Jaishankar's trip to London, as well as the positive coronavirus tests among his staff, sparked criticism back home in India. Some Indians questioned the wisdom of his travel at an all-hands-on-deck moment in the pandemic.

The country has confirmed more than 300,000 coronavirus cases daily for the past two weeks, and its health care system is collapsing. On Wednesday, India confirmed more than 382,000 new cases and 3,780 deaths — its highest single-day death toll since the pandemic began.

"Man travelled to London just to hold virtual meeting with G-7 leaders. Why wasted so much money and time?" one Indian wrote on Twitter. "You should have stayed in India and held meeting virtually."

---------------

India's top diplomat and his entourage have been forced to self-isolate, participating in a G-7 foreign ministers meeting only virtually — from hotel rooms near the venue in London — after at least two members of the Indian delegation tested positive for the coronavirus.

India is currently battling the world's biggest COVID-19 wave, and is thus on the United Kingdom's Red List, meaning travel from India into the U.K. is restricted. The rules stipulate that while regular Indians are barred from entering the U.K., diplomats may do so, but are required to self-isolate.

It appears that India's minister of external affairs, Subrahmanyam Jaishankar, was granted an exception to that rule, because he has held several in-person meetings, including with U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken, since arriving in London on Monday.

British media reported that two members of Jaishankar's delegation had since tested positive.

In a tweet, Jaishankar said he had been made aware of the exposure Tuesday evening. "As a measure of abundant caution and also out of consideration for others, I decided to conduct my engagements in the virtual mode," he wrote. "That will be the case with the G7 Meeting today as well."


Riaz Haq said…
#Modi's Hand-Picked #UP CM #YogiAdityanath Sets Up 700 Help Desks across the state for #cows & cow shelters with 51 oximeters, 341 thermal scanners to treat cows suffering #COVID19. #India #Hindutva #BJP #coronavirus #pandemic https://www.newindianexpress.com/nation/2021/may/05/help-desks-for-cows-in-up-equip-shelters-with-oximeters-thermal-scanners-yogi-adityanath-2298884.html via @NewIndianXpress

Amid the prevailing pandemic, the Yogi Adityanath government is taking forward its cow protection agenda and has issued directives to set up help desks for protection of cows in every district.

The state government has also issued instructions that all the cow shelters (gaushalas) must strictly follow the Covid-19 protocols, and has made the usage of masks and frequent thermal screening mandatory.

The cow shelters will also be equipped with all the medical equipment's such as oximeters and thermal scanners for cows and other animals as well.

In view of the current Covid situation, a total of 700 help desks for the welfare of cows have been set up across the districts of Uttar Pradesh. With this, 51 oximeters and 341 thermal scanners have also been provided to ensure better animal care and testing.

According to the government spokesman, destitute cows, in large numbers, are being provided shelter in the gaushalas. The government is also rapidly increasing the number of the existing cowsheds and cow shelters to deal with stray cattle menace.

According to the official data, there are over 5,268 cow protection centres which have, till now, ensured the well-being of as many as 5,73,417 cattle in the state.

About 4,64,311 cows in both, villages and cities, have been kept at 4,529 temporary cow shelters.

Of these, 40,640 cows are in 161 Kanha Gaushalas and 10,827 cows in 407 Kanji houses.

Apart from this, 171 large cow-conservation centres / cow sanctuaries have been constructed in the state, which have provided shelter to as many as 57,639 cows.

The fodder bank model, developed by the state government, is ensuring timely fodder through 3452 Fodder Banks which are feeding lakhs of stray cattle in Uttar Pradesh amid the covid crisis.

Under the Mukhya Mantri Besahara Gau-Vansh Sahbhagita Yojana, the UP government also made a provision of giving a financial assistance of Rs 900 per month to every farmer taking care of stray cattle. So far, a total of 85,869 cows have been provided to 44, 651 beneficiaries.

In addition, the well-being of over 1,05,380 cows has been ensured by 533 registered cowsheds and 377 functional cow shelters, whereas, a total of 47, 040 cows have been preserved in about 304 unregistered cowsheds.
Riaz Haq said…
#India breaks its own #COVID19 records again with 412,000 new cases & nearly 4,000 deaths in 24 hours. Epidemiologists believe that India’s surge could hit 500,000 cases a day. That would be a ruinous burden for a #healthcare system already reeling https://www.washingtonpost.com/nation/2021/05/06/coronavirus-covid-live-updates-us/?tid=ss_tw

India’s devastating coronavirus crisis deepened Thursday, as the country reported 412,000 infections and nearly 4,000 deaths in the previous 24 hours.

Epidemiologists believe that India’s surge could hit 500,000 cases a day in the coming weeks before retreating. That would represent a ruinous burden for a health-care system reeling from too many patients and a shortage of crucial supplies such as oxygen.

Last month, the United States advised its citizens to leave India, and the State Department on Thursday authorized the voluntary departure of non-emergency personnel.

Here are some significant developments:
The Biden administration said it will support waiving intellectual property protections for coronavirus vaccines, arguing that the global health crisis calls for extraordinary measures — a move sought by developing nations. In a tweet following the U.S. announcement, Britain’s international trade secretary Liz Truss did not back patent waiver, saying the U.K. is “in discussions with the US and others to facilitate the increased production and supply of Covid-19 vaccines.”
Coronavirus infections could be driven to low levels and the pandemic at least temporarily throttled in the United States by July if the vast majority of people get vaccinated and continue with precautions, said the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Free drinks, plants and a chance to win a car: Local leaders have turned to audacious incentives to push people — especially younger populations — to get vaccinated.
The Pfizer-BioNTech coronavirus vaccine provides strong protection against two concerning variants of the virus, including the one that has most worried scientists because it can evade parts of the immune response, according to new data from Qatar.
Canada became the first country in the world to authorize use of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine for children between 12 and 15 on Wednesday. The United States is expected to follow shortly.
Riaz Haq said…
#India’s worsening #Covid crisis could spiral into a big problem for the world. #Indian variants are already spilling into #Nepal & #SriLanka. Both reported increases in infections, while other regional economies #HongKong & #Singapore have imported it too https://cnb.cx/2PS2TH8

India has reported more than 300,000 new cases daily in the last two weeks, and overtook Brazil in April to become the second-worst infected country in the world. Cumulatively, coronavirus infections in India reached around 20.67 million with more than 226,000 deaths, according to health ministry data on Wednesday. Several studies of India’s data, however, found that cases were likely severely underreported.

There are already signs that India’s outbreak is spilling over to other countries. Its neighbors Nepal and Sri Lanka have also reported increases in infections, while other regional economies including Hong Kong and Singapore have seen imported Covid cases from India.

Here’s how India’s coronavirus crisis could spiral into a wider global problem.

Potential new Covid variants
Prolonged large outbreaks in any country could increase the possibility of new variants of Covid-19, health experts warned. Some of the variants could evade immune responses trigged by vaccines and previous infections, they said.

“Here’s the bottom line: We know when there are large outbreaks, that variants arise. And so far our vaccines are holding up okay, we’re seeing a few breakthrough infections but not much,” Dr. Ashish Jha, dean of Brown University’s School of Public Health, told CNBC’s “The News with Shepard Smith.”

“But India is a big country and if there are large outbreaks there, of course we’re gonna all worry about more variants which will be bad for Indians and of course, it will spread around the world,” he added.

India first detected the B.1.617 variant — also dubbed the “double mutant” — in October last year. The variant has since been reported in at least 17 countries including the U.S., the U.K. and Singapore.

Dr. Ashish Jha: We don’t have to get into herd immunity to get our lives back
WHO has classified the B.1.617 as a variant of interest, which suggests the mutated strain could be more contagious, more deadly, as well as more resistant to current vaccines and treatments. The organization said more studies are needed to understand the significance of the variant.

Global vaccine supply at risk
India is a major vaccine manufacturer, but the health crisis at home has led authorities to halt exports of Covid-19 vaccines as the country prioritizes its domestic needs.

The Serum Institute of India (SII) — the country’s main producer — has the rights to produce the Covid vaccine co-developed by AstraZeneca and the University of Oxford. Some of its production is slated for Covax, the global initiative to supply poor countries with Covid vaccines.

India accounts for 1 in 3 new Covid cases being recorded. Here is its second wave in 5 charts

India’s worsening Covid crisis could spiral into a problem for the world

India is the home of the world’s biggest producer of Covid vaccines. But it’s facing a major internal shortage

India’s economy will likely contract this quarter as Covid cases soar, economists warn

Developing countries are lagging advanced nations in securing vaccine supplies in what the WHO has described as a “shocking imbalance” in distribution.

A delay in vaccine exports by India could therefore leave lower-income countries vulnerable to fresh outbreaks of the coronavirus.


Some economists have downgraded their growth forecasts for India. But they remained optimistic about the economy’s outlook for the year given that restrictions to curb the virus spread have been more targeted compared to the strict nationwide lockdown last year.
---

Meanwhile, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce has warned that the health crisis in India could drag down the U.S. economy, reported Reuters. That’s because many U.S. companies hire millions of Indian workers to run their back-office operations, according to the report.
Riaz Haq said…
#India’s national government looks increasingly hapless. Confronted with catastrophe, the state has melted away. A sense of utter abandonment, especially among the politically noisy middle class, is driving the anger. #Modi #BJP #COVID #COVIDSecondWave

https://www.economist.com/asia/2021/05/08/indias-national-government-looks-increasingly-hapless

Two short months ago Narendra Modi’s government was one of the most popular and confident in India’s history. Now, judging by fresh election results, by the eruption of criticism even in the largely docile mainstream media, by sharp reprimands issued by top courts, by thumbs-down judgments by seasoned analysts and by a level of rage on social media unusual even for India’s hothouse online forums, the prime minister and his government are in trouble.

It is not simply that evidence has mounted of repeated failures to heed warnings of an impending second wave of covid-19, including from the government’s own health experts. Nor is it just that Mr Modi and his team have struggled to respond to a calamity greater than India has experienced in generations. Indians are accustomed to ineptitude and meagre support. Rather it is a sense of utter abandonment, especially among the politically noisy middle class, that is driving the anger.

Riaz Haq said…
Vir Sanghvi @htTweets: "The dream of a modern India is dying... Such is the despondency over our politicians that many people are now actively considering emigrating to other countries" #India #Modi #COVIDEmergency2021 #ModiResign https://www.hindustantimes.com/opinion/the-taste-with-vir-sanghvi-the-dream-of-a-modern-india-is-dying-101620285742981.html


It is a conversation I have had with so many people over the last fortnight that I know how it will go as soon as they started speaking. Usually, the conversation is with young people or with those in what we might call early middle age (35 to 45).


They all say the same thing: there is no hope for India. Things will never get better.

They cannot see themselves as having a future in this country. If they are young, they talk about wanting to raise a family outside this environment. If they are older they talk about pulling their children out of school and trying to make new lives in Dubai, Australia, Singapore or wherever.

I will be honest. Even before the current spate of conversations began, I had heard similar things before.

But there was a difference. Most of the people who told me that they were ready to leave were Muslims.

They no longer felt wanted in this country, they said. On Twitter and other social media, there was so much abuse and prejudice that they felt physically assaulted by the bigots. At every election campaign, Hindus would be asked, either in coded phrases or more directly, to hate Muslims and to unite under a communal cause.

Eventually, for worried Muslims, it boiled down to one thing: did they really want to condemn their children to life in a country where politicians won power by demonising their community?

I would tell my Muslim friends to be patient. This was a phase, I would say. The majority of Hindus did not think of Muslims as fanatics and closet Pakistanis. There is a circle to everything. The bigotry will fade. The mood will change.

But now, it is not just the Muslims who are eager to leave. It is middle class Hindus; usually Hindus with impressive educational qualifications and good jobs. They have bought houses here; they have advanced in their careers.

And still, they are prepared to walk away from it all and start all over again.


Many people of my generation faced this kind of choice when we were young. Several of us chose to work abroad. And the generation after us found that they were even more attracted by the West. They left India, found good jobs, and made new lives. (And many of them now run I-Support-Modi groups from the safe distance of New Jersey or wherever.)

But enough of us stayed. When I finished university in 1979, India was not yet the economic success story it would become after the 1991 reforms. We would all have made much more money if we had stayed on abroad.

We came back anyway. Partly because we believed in India. And partly because this was home. This is where we felt the most comfortable.

-----------------

Perhaps this will happen. Perhaps it won’t.

But either way, what is happening today is a betrayal of hope and a slap in the face of the dream that was a modern progressive India.

We will beat Covid eventually. But by then thousands more will have lost their lives. Thousands of others, our best and brightest, will have left the country.

And the dream is dying.
Riaz Haq said…
Callous #Modi presses ahead with $1.8 billion #Indian parliament renovation even as #COVID19 ravages #India and hospitals plead for life-saving oxygen while Covid-19 patients die in their thousands gasping for breath. #BJP #Hindutva https://www.cnn.com/2021/05/06/india/india-modi-parliament-intl-hnk/index.html

While hospitals plead for life-saving oxygen and Covid-19 patients die in their thousands, India's Prime Minister Narendra Modi is pushing ahead with a $1.8 billion parliamentary revamp -- including a new home for the country's leader.

The decision to continue with the project in the capital, New Delhi, has infuriated the public and opposition politicians, who have pointed to the apparent disconnect in pouring millions into a construction project when the country is struggling with its worst-ever public health crisis.
The pricey renovation, known as the Central Vista Redevelopment Project, has been categorized as an "essential service," meaning construction is allowed to continue even when most other building projects have been halted.

Construction work underway on the Central Vista redevelopment project at Rajpath on April 17, 2021 in New Delhi, India.
Two citizens -- including one with Covid-19 whose mother also has the virus -- lodged a case with the Delhi High Court on Wednesday to try to halt construction, which has continued even while the capital is in lockdown.
The petitioners argue the parliament buildings don't constitute an essential service and construction work could even become a Covid super-spreader event, according to special leave petition filed by lawyer Nitin Saluja. Workers are continuing to be ferried from their labor camp to the construction site, according to the document.
The High Court offered to hear the case later this month, but petitioners took the matter to the Supreme Court, arguing the lower court had "failed to appreciate the gravity" of the situation.
"Since there is a public health emergency in the matter, any delay could be detrimental to the larger public interest," Saluja wrote to the Supreme Court. Saluja said the case will most likely be heard Friday.
India has reported more than 3,000 Covid-19 deaths in each of the past few days. The country accounted for a quarter of global coronavirus fatalities over the past week, according to the World Health Organization's (WHO) weekly Covid-19 report.

Even before the second wave, Central Vista had attracted controversy, with critics saying the redevelopment would come at the cost of history and heritage. But opposition has become more heated recently, with politicians slamming the plan as a vanity project.
Proponents of the 86-acre (35-hectare) revamp say it is necessary as the current 100-year-old buildings are not fit for purpose.
"The launch of the construction of the Parliament House of India, with the idea of Indianness by Indians, is one of the most important milestones of our democratic traditions," Modi said in December at the laying of the building's foundation stone. "We the people of India will construct this new Parliament building together."
Riaz Haq said…
India’s Covid crisis exposes its great power delusions | TRT World

https://www.trtworld.com/opinion/india-s-covid-crisis-exposes-its-great-power-delusions-46538


India’s arrival as a global power is prematurely pronounced and is emblematic of a pattern replayed in recent years.
The scenes out of India these days are harrowing. Human beings lying on the pavement, begging for a bed in a hospital, or at the very least, some supply of oxygen. Space has run out not just for the dying, but also for the dead, as cremation and burial sites struggle to deal with the surge.

Last year, Prime Minister Narendra Modi declared India as the “pharmacy to the world.” And it was only a month or two ago that some in the international commentariat proclaimed India as an early victor in the vaccine diplomacy race. But India’s vaccine exports have since come to a halt. As its death toll soars, India is now seeking vaccine supplies from countries like the United States.

The Imagined India meets the Real India

India’s Covid-19 crisis is not just a nightmare of mass human suffering. It is also a massive systemic failure. Indeed, it is emblematic of a pattern replayed in recent years: India’s arrival as a global power is prematurely pronounced — often by Western voices eager to see New Delhi’s aspirations realised — and then this Imagined India is shown to be hollow when struck by the Real India.

When India conducted airstrikes in Pakistan in February 2019, it claimed that it hit “terror camps” and killed hundreds of terrorists. India’s assertions were readily accepted by South Asia watchers in the West, some of whom hailed it as establishing a new normal in the region with India supposedly developing the capability to conduct Israeli-style strikes in Pakistan at will.

But then India’s claims were rubbished by the international media, which made clear that the only casualties were “some pine trees” and “a crow.” And, later that month, Pakistan’s air force knocked down at least one Indian air force jet. Prominent US media outlets disproved claims by New Delhi — parroted by the Indian media — that it took down a Pakistani F-16.

Many within India and its boosters abroad continued to see its global rise as inevitable. But India’s great power delusions were dealt yet another blow last year when it was blindsided and hit hard in clashes with China in the Galwan Valley. India has not only faced setbacks in clashes with adversaries, but it has also lost influence to China in more friendly countries in the region: Bangladesh, Nepal, and Sri Lanka.

Indiscipline and punishment

The ongoing crisis in India has brought to fore its governance challenges and the extent to which it lags behind China on this critical element of national power.

To be clear, India is a vast country with significant regional disparities. States like Kerala have witnessed admirable gains in human development and public service delivery in the past generation. But, in contrast, places like Uttar Pradesh — India’s most populous state — remain stuck in another era, with characteristics of a failing state: crumbling public health and education systems, rampant corruption, and frequent mob violence. Continued Hindu nationalist rule at the center risks the Uttar Pradeshisation of India.
------------------


Modi’s disapproval rating shot up by eight points over April, but he remains a popular figure despite the suffering he’s brought to his people with his poor handling of the deadly second wave and his sudden announcements of demonetisation in 2016 and the first Covid lockdown in 2020.

Until recently, Modi’s charisma as a champion of a muscular Hindu identity made his reputation impervious to his government’s many policy failures. There now appear to be real dents in his armour. But there is little competition to Modi and the BJP at the centre. They will continue to rule India for the foreseeable future, but the country’s aspirations to serve as vishwaguru or “teacher to the world” will remain a fantasy.

Amit S. said…
PERSPECTIVES
An Open Letter to Modi Bhakts in America: Your God has Feet of Clay and Blood on His Hands
Vineetha Mokkil
BY VINEETHA MOKKIL
MAY 5, 2021

Stop leaving offerings on his bloodied altar. Stop funding his campaigns of hate. Stop enabling the annihilation of secular India’s soul.

It’s time to face facts. Your God does not have a 56-inch chest. Your God is all bluster, no action. All swagger, no substance. Your God has failed the people of India on every count as the worst crisis in modern times ravages the country. Your God has no interest in protecting the citizenry he is expected to serve. While India gasps for breath, while patients die in hospital after hospital for lack of oxygen, while the sick collapse on the streets and beg for medicines and beds at overcrowded hospital gates, your God is lavishing ₹22,000 crore on building himself a glitzy new palace in the heart of Delhi. Consumed by his vanity project, he forgot to instruct his government to procure adequate vaccines supplies — the one thing that could save countless Indian lives as the second wave explodes in the country.

Your God is deaf to the cries of millions of Indians in distress. He is blind to the living, the sick and the dying. His hearing is faulty — neither the dying nor the living can get through to him. He only hears the sound of his own voice.

Wake up, dear Bhakts! All those odes to India’s ancient glory, the shiny promises of turning India into a Vishwa Guru who dazzles the world, all the bombastic words he uses to cast a spell on you at his Madison Square Garden rallies are a means to an end. Your god mouths the words to make sure you donate your dollars to his political campaigns and rallies. Keep the dollars coming, and he’ll keep telling you what you want to hear.

Instead of glory, he has heaped misery on Bharat Mata’s head. Under his stewardship, India has been dragged into the dirt. His demonitization drive broke the backbone of small businesses across the country. Much like the hare-brained Mughal emperor, Tughlak, your God’s ill-conceived move sowed chaos and hardship in the life of the common man.



As we speak, India is desperately seeking foreign aid to tackle a health emergency that your God’s lack of foresight caused. After a gap of 17 years, ‘Atmanirbhar Bharat’ has had to solicit foreign aid to bail itself out of a crisis.

Under your God’s watch, India had been brought to her knees. It is a pariah nation now. The Covid hotspot every nation dreads. The country every person across the world is watching in horror. Indian travellers are banned from flying out to almost every spot on the planet. Your God has no ‘masterstroke’ at this moment to flaunt.

Please understand. Your God is no God. He is a conman, a scamster, a talking head who trades exclusively in hate and vitriol. Inside his Photoshopped 56-inch chest there is no beating heart. He has not consoled the families of the dead or met with them. No condolences. No hospital visits. No regrets. Your God does not feel the pain of others or acknowledge his role in inflicting the worst on them.

He has not consoled the families of the dead or met with them. No condolences. No hospital visits. No regrets. Your God does not feel the pain of others or acknowledge his role in inflicting the worst on them.
Think about it. What kind of God stays unmoved as Indians continue to die of lack of oxygen, hospital beds, and access to medical care? What God retreats into silence as 120 Indians die — every hour, every day — from a second wave that could have been averted if he had acted on time? Who holds road shows and campaign rallies and chases after votes with zero regard for human life as death stalks the land?

Riaz Haq said…
The second wave and the Indian State

By Yamini Aiyar

https://www.hindustantimes.com/opinion/the-second-wave-and-the-indian-state-101620579557130.html


Pritchett turned to India’s public health system to illustrate his argument. When you talked to the top tiers of India’s government, he said, you get an elaborate story of facilities, human resources, health services and programmes. But travel to any part of India, particularly in the north, Pritchett noted, and it became clear that this description of India’s “health system” was, in fact, a complete fiction.

As the horror and suffering of the second wave of Covid-19 unfold, one thing is clear. In the short decade between when Pritchett first posited the idea of the flailing State and today, India has transitioned to a failed State. The “fiction” of India’s health system is now exposed. And as hapless citizens struggle to find oxygen, basic medicines, hospital beds, the once sound and functional “head”, or more specifically the national government, is no longer visible. Indeed, it has abdicated from all responsibility, from leadership and governance.

The flailing State, in Pritchett’s formulation, was capable of undertaking “thin”, logistical, tasks. Tasks where goals are clear, outputs visible and command-and-control actions could be deployed. After all, India managed to conduct large-scale elections, vaccination programmes (the irony is inescapable), even handled natural disaster relief with relative competence.

Yet, when it comes to Covid-19 management, the Centre has failed to perform even these logistical tasks — oxygen supply, availability and access to basic medicines, treatment protocols, data systems, vaccinations. The political leadership, from the prime minister (PM) downwards, is completely absent and the Indian Administrative Service (IAS) — whose “brain power”, as Pritchett saw it, could capably formulate excellent policies — is drafting botched-up and confused policy. It is extraordinary that oxygen supply chains and aid distribution cannot be streamlined weeks after hospitals and state governments sounded alarm bells. Of course, when all else fails, we are reminded that health is, after all, a state subject.

---------------

Battling Covid-19 requires political maturity. This cannot be done in an institutional vacuum. One option is to set up an inter-state council within the National Disaster Management Authority, comprising the PM, chief ministers, senior ministers and bureaucrats from both states and the Centre. Institutionalised coordination will send the right signals to the limbs of the once flailing State. But this requires political leadership and trust. It’s not too late. But soon it will be.
Riaz Haq said…
On the shelf are four books heralding India as a superpower. All published in the past two decades. How did so many Indians fall for this delusion? How did so many Indians tolerate the charlatans who sold it? The Soviet Union at its most decrepit was less hollow than this India.

https://twitter.com/kapskom/status/1391010523131654145?s=20
Riaz Haq said…
#COVID19India: Desperation Is Spreading Across #India, hitting states and rural areas with many fewer resources. Positivity rates are soaring across rural India where #healthcare is scarce. #COVID19 #Modi #BJP #Hindutva #FailedState #CoronavirusPandemic https://www.nytimes.com/2021/05/11/world/asia/covid-india-ganges-oxygen.html?smid=tw-share


Some of the worst affected states are now in the south, especially Karnataka, home to India’s tech hub, Bangalore. An oxygen express train, part of the Modi government’s effort to rush liquid oxygen to Covid-19 hot spots, chugged into Bangalore on Tuesday morning.

---------------

Infections, deaths and breakdowns that began in big cities a few weeks ago are rapidly advancing into rural areas, unleashing deep fear in places with little medical safety net.


Dozens of bodies washed up on the banks of the Ganges this week, most likely the remains of people who perished from Covid-19.

States in southern India have threatened to stop sharing medical oxygen with each other, fiercely protective about holding on to whatever they have as their hospitals swell with the sick and infections skyrocket.

And at one hospital in Andhra Pradesh, a rural state in southeastern India, furious relatives went on a rampage in the intensive care unit after lifesaving oxygen suddenly ran out — the latest example of the same tragedy repeating itself, of patients dying while gasping for air.

The desperation that engulfed New Delhi, India’s capital, over the past few weeks is now spreading across the entire country, hitting states and rural areas with many fewer resources. Positivity rates are soaring in those states, and public health experts say that the rising numbers most likely fall far short of giving the true picture in places where sickness and deaths caused by Covid-19 are harder to track.

It seems the crisis is reaching a new phase. Cases in New Delhi and Mumbai may be leveling off. But many other places are getting bowled over by runaway outbreaks. The World Health Organization now says that a new variant of the virus detected in India, B.1.167, may be especially transmissible, which is just adding to the sense of alarm.

Every day the Indian media delivers a heavy dose of turmoil and grief. On Tuesday, it was televised images of distraught relatives furiously beating the chests of loved ones who had died after the oxygen ran out, and headlines including “Bodies of Suspected Covid-19 Victims Found Floating” and “As Deaths Go Up 10 Fold, Worrying Signs from Smaller States.”

This was always the burning question: If New Delhi, home to the country’s elite and scores of hospitals, couldn’t handle the surge of coronavirus cases from a devastating new wave, what would happen in poorer rural areas?

The answer is now coming in.

On Monday night, the Sri Venkateswara Ramnarain Ruia Government General Hospital, in Andhra Pradesh, was running low on medical oxygen. More than 60 patients were in critical condition, oxygen masks strapped to their faces. Doctors frantically called suppliers for help.

But the oxygen ran out, killing 11 people. Distraught family members became so enraged, hospital officials said, that they rushed into the intensive care unit, flipped over tables and smashed equipment. Televised images showed women clutching their heads, overwhelmed by grief. Doctors and nurses fled until police officers arrived.

India is suffering from a worrying shortage of medical oxygen, and at least 20 other hospitals have run out. Nearly 200 patients have died because of this, according to an Indian news site that has been tracking the string of deadly incidents.
Riaz Haq said…
How #India Can Survive the #COVID #Virus. Decision-making based on data is a casualty, as the pandemic in India has spun out of control. The human cost we are enduring will leave a permanent scar. #Modi #BJP #OxygenEmergency #VaccineShortage #Variant https://www.nytimes.com/2021/05/13/opinion/india-coronavirus-vaccination.html?smid=tw-share

by Dr. Shahid Jameel

The estimates vary widely. The Supermodel Group, preferred by the Indian government, estimated cases to have peaked at about 380,000 cases per day in the first week of May. The simulation model by the Indian Scientists Response to COVID-19, a voluntary group of scientists, predicts that daily cases will reach a peak sometime in mid-May, but it forecasts a much higher peak, about 500,000 to 600,000 daily cases. The COV-IND-19 Study Group at the University of Michigan predicts a peak by mid-May with about 800,000 to one million daily cases.

All models predict India’s second wave to last until July or August, ending with about 35 million confirmed cases and possibly 500 million estimated infections. That would still leave millions of susceptible people in India. The timing and scale of the third wave would depend on the proportion of vaccinated people, whether newer variants emerge and whether India can avoid additional superspreader events, like large weddings and religious festivals.


--------------------


As of Tuesday, India had over 23 million reported cases of Covid-19 and more than 254,000 deaths. The real numbers may be much higher, as the country reported an average of more than 380,000 new cases per day in the past week.

As a virologist, I have closely followed the outbreak and vaccine development over the past year. I also chair the Scientific Advisory Group for the Indian SARS-CoV2 Consortium on Genomics, set up by the Indian government in January as a grouping of national laboratories that use genetic sequencing to track the emergence and circulation of viral variants. My observations are that more infectious variants have been spreading, and to mitigate future waves, India should vaccinate with far more than the two million daily doses now.

In India the virus was mutating around the new year to become more infectious, more transmissible and better able to evade pre-existing immunity. Sequencing data now tells us that two variants that fueled the second wave are B.1.617, first found in India in December, which spread through mass events; and B.1.1.7, first identified in Britain, which arrived in India with international travelers starting in January. The B.1.617 variant has now become the most widespread in India.


On Monday the World Health Organization designated B.1.617 a variant of concern. When tested in hamsters, which are reasonable models for human infection and disease, B.1.617 produced higher amounts of virus and more lung lesions compared with the parent B.1 virus. Global data shows the B.1.617 variant to be diversifying into three sub-lineages. In a preliminary report posted on Sunday, British and Indian scientists found the B.1.617.2 variant in vaccine breakthrough infections in a Delhi hospital.

On Monday, American researchers reported the B.1.617.1 variant to be neutralized with reduced efficiency by serums from recovered Covid-19 patients and those vaccinated with the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines. Indian researchers reported similar findings in a preliminary report on April 23.

With these variants circulating through India’s still mostly unvaccinated population, public health officials here are trying to determine when the second wave might peak, how big it will be and when it will end.

Riaz Haq said…
India’s #coronavirus crisis spreads to its villages, where #healthcare is hard to find. 75% of all districts in #India are reporting a positivity rate of more than 10%, a #health official said Tuesday, an indication of how widely the #virus had spread. https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/2021/05/15/india-coronavirus-rural/?tid=ss_tw

The illness traveled silently through the narrow lanes of this prosperous village in Uttar Pradesh, infecting both young and old. People complained of fevers, cough and breathlessness. Then they began to die.

Vipin Kumar, a farmer in his 40s, was one of them. Last week, a feverish Kumar lay in pain on a cot in the courtyard of his family’s modest home, which abuts a maize field.

On the fifth day, his breathing became labored, and the family was advised by a local doctor to rush him to a big city 25 miles away — a formidable task the family could not manage, according to his son, Devendra. That evening, on May 10, his body began to shake violently and he died soon after.


More than 20 people with coronavirus symptoms have died in the village over the past two weeks, according to locals, a significant increase over the three or four deaths per month the village saw before the pandemic. Most of them, like Kumar, were never tested.

“Not a day goes by when there are no deaths,” said Hariom Raghav, a farmer and businessman who had just returned from a cremation. “If things continue like this, the village will empty out soon.”


The story of Banail has been playing out in villages across India as the virus continues its deadly surge: Rural areas, where over 65 percent of India’s 1.3 billion people live, had been spared in the first wave of the pandemic but are now facing devastating numbers of infections. Three quarters of all districts in India are reporting a positivity rate of more than 10 percent, a health official said Tuesday, an indication of how widely the virus had spread.

With more than 23 million reported cases, India is the global epicenter of the coronavirus pandemic. The country is recording more than 4,000 deaths a day, which experts say is an undercount. This week the World Health Organization classified the variant first found in India as a variant of “concern” and said initial studies suggested it spreads more easily.

Health-care infrastructure in villages — deficient at best or missing altogether before the pandemic — is ill-equipped to service the current needs. India’s rural health-care system has far fewer specialist doctors than needed. Low levels of awareness among villagers about coronavirus prevention and a slow rollout of vaccines has added to worries.

At the center of this crisis in the hinterland is the state of Uttar Pradesh — home to 230 million people, more than the population of Brazil. It is also one of the poorest and least-developed states. In April, local elections were held in villages across the state, which officials say led to the surge in rural areas. According to a teachers’ organization, more than 700 government teachers who were assigned to poll duty died after the elections, many after testing positive for the coronavirus. At the start of the month, the state was recording just over 2,500 cases. By the end of the month, as the elections wrapped up, cases surged to nearly 35,000.

This week, dozens of bodies suspected to be coronavirus patients have been found floating in India’s holy Ganges river in areas of Uttar Pradesh and its adjoining state, raising fears that corpses are being cast into the river because crematoriums are overwhelmed.

Activist and farmer leader Yogendra Yadav wrote that “sheer political callousness” has made the state the epicenter of “one of the worst” disasters in 21st century India. Recently, legislators from the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party wrote to the state chief minister to raise an alarm over the situation in rural areas.
Riaz Haq said…
As #India Hunkers Down to Fight #COVID19, Its Wounded #Economy Braces for More Pain. Poor #migrants were hit last year but the middle class is also reeling now amid #lockdown. Many Indians have no savings to fall back on. #Modi #BJP #coronavirus #Hindutva https://www.wsj.com/articles/as-india-hunkers-down-to-fight-covid-19-its-wounded-economy-braces-for-more-pain-11620817203


the second wave is pummeling small and medium-size businesses, which were already wounded after last year’s shutdown, economists said. Any further curbs on spending could permanently wipe many of them out, said Vishrut Rana, an economist at S&P Global Ratings.

“There could be a number of closures,” he said.

Delhi salon owner Nima, who goes by one name, said she decided to shut down her business for good after the city went into lockdown in late April. The salon barely managed to survive last year, she said, but life was slowly getting back to normal. Now, Ms. Nima said she can no longer afford to keep paying her staff.

“How long can we keep investing with no returns?” she said.

The biggest unknown is how long the current surge will last. The long-term economic impact will depend on when it ends—and whether another wave of infections can be kept at bay.

Some epidemiological models, including one prepared by advisers to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, have predicted the surge will peak around mid-May. In that case, the pain could be limited to the April-to-June quarter, economists said, with the economy rebounding soon after.

GDP growth for the fiscal year ending March 2022 would take a modest hit, down to 9.8% from an original estimate of 11%, Mr. Rana said. But if the peak comes a month later, in June, the outlook is more grim. In that scenario, GDP growth would fall to 8.2%, he said.

“That’s a longer period of time where people are indoors and not spending,” he said.

India has avoided imposing the kind of sweeping national lockdown that brought the country to a virtual standstill for months last year. That has blunted some of the pain by allowing heavy industries such as agriculture and manufacturing to keep operating.

Data firm IHS Markit’s purchasing managers index for manufacturing in India—a measure of activity in the private sector—rose to 55.5 in April, up slightly from 55.4 in March. A reading above 50 indicates that activity is increasing, while a reading below points to a decline in activity.

“Power consumption, railway, freight—all these things have held up fairly well,” Mr. Rana said. “It’s a positive sign for at least the heavy side of the economy.”

Even after the current crisis ends, a slow vaccination campaign will continue to hamper India’s ability to safely open up, said Kunal Kundu, an India economist at Société Générale Corporate and Investment Banking. Only 2.8% of the country’s more than 1.3 billion people are fully vaccinated, according to the health ministry.

India is unlikely to achieve herd immunity from vaccinations before the first half of 2022, Mr. Kundu wrote in a research note. Opening up the economy too quickly, he said, could bring about another surge, which would hamper the economy in the long term.


“There is now an increased possibility that localized lockdown will continue until June or maybe even beyond,” he said. “India still needs to maintain all of its Covid protocols to prevent a further deterioration until mass vaccination can be achieved.”

Mr. Kundu revised the forecast for GDP growth down to 8.5% from 9.5% for the fiscal year ending March 2022. There is a likelihood for further downward revision, he wrote.

Popular posts from this blog

Declining COVID19 Reproduction Rate in Pakistan Now Among the World's Lowest

Turkish-Born Muslim Scientists Behind Pfizer's Successful COVID19 Vaccine

Karachi-born NED University Alum Leads Mercedes Entry into Electric Vehicles Market