India v/s Covid-19: Plasma, Covaxin, And Cases

India v/s Covid-19: Plasma, Covaxin, And Cases

India has witnessed mixed reaction to the Covid-19 pandemic, with plasma treatment and Covaxin vaccine being balanced by a steady rise of cases.

Crux of the Matter

Plasma In Maharashtra-Delhi
Maharashtra government recently launched project ‘Platina‘, which would create the world’s largest Plasma therapy trial for Covid-19 patients in critical stage. Initially, the therapy would be provided to 500 patients, with the government aiming for treating 5,000 patients till August.

Similarly, Delhi government has announced the setting up of a Plasma Bank, which would be the first of its type in India. Satyendra Jain, the Health Minister of Delhi, recently availed the Plasma treatment after testing positive for Covid-19. After the therapy, Jain has shown significant improvement in health. Consequently, Jain and Atishi Marlena, a leader of the Aam Aadmi Party, have pledged to donate their plasma after recovery.

What Is Plasma Therapy?
Plasma is the liquid part of blood which contains the antibodies. Human immune system develops antibodies while combating a virus. A recovered patient can donate blood by consent, from which the plasma is recovered. This plasma, laden with antibodies, is then transferred to other patients.

Plasma therapy has several risks, including the weakening of the immune system and the augmentation of the infection. However, several Covid-19 patients have shown significant improvements, chiefly in respiration and oxygen saturation levels.

COVAXIN is the first Indian candidate for Covid-19 vaccine, and recently received permission to conduct human trials.

The vaccine is developed by Bharat Biotech in collaboration with the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) and the National Institute of Virology (NIV). It is an inactivated type of vaccine, which contains a virus that has been rendered incapable of replication.

  • Michael Rubinstein was the first to use plasmapheresis to treat an immune-related disorder when he saved the life of an adolescent boy with thrombotic thrombocytopenic purpura (TTP). Thrombotic thrombocytopenic purpura (TTP) is a blood disorder that results in blood clots forming in small blood vessels throughout the body.
  • The United States has bought nearly the entire world’s supply of Remdesivir, one of just two drugs proven to treat COVID-19. US authorities secured more than 500,000 treatment courses of the drug through September, which represents 100% of Gilead’s projected production for July, 90% of production in August, and 90% of production in September. 
  • The world No. 1 in men’s tennis, Novak Djokovic announced that he and his wife, Jelena, had tested positive for the coronavirus. He organized an exhibition series in Croatia and Serbia which resulted in many attendees testing positive towards the virus. “I am so deeply sorry our tournament has caused harm,” Djokovic said on social media.

Defence Alliances Of India

Defence Alliances Of India

Defence alliances formed by India are adding to its combat as well as negotiation strength as it was recently drawn in a border conflict by China.

Crux of the Matter

Rajnath Singh, the Defence Minister of India, recently visited Russia for its Victory Day Parade on 24th June and also had discussions on the weapon supply. After the talks, Russia agreed to speed up the delivery of S-400 missile systems to India, which drew praise from Singh.

I have been assured that ongoing contracts will be maintained and not just maintained, in a number of cases will be taken forward in a shorter time

Rajnath Singh, Defence Minister, India

Previously, Russia agreed to supply S-400 anti-missile system by 2021 to India, which is currently deploying Pechora and OSA-AK systems, provided by the former, at Ladakh border following a clash with Chinese soldiers.

Besides the Russian systems, India has also deployed the Israeli SPYDER system at Ladakh border. ‘Surface-to-air PYthon and DERby’, known as SPYDER is a “quick-reaction surface-to-air missile system” used for air defence. It was used in 2019 to shoot down a Pakistani drone at the Gujarat border.

Indian Navy and the Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force (JMSDF) recently conducted a “join training exercise” to further strengthen defence relations. The move came in the light of Taro Kono, the Defence Minister of Japan, revealing the presence of Chinese submarines near its islands.

Japan has warned China to curb its aggression while implementing measures to withdraw industries from there.

France has reportedly accelerated the process of supplying the Rafale jets to India, and 6 jets instead of expected 4 would be reportedly arriving on 27 July.

The Rafale deal was done in 2016 when India placed the order of 36 jets which would be provided in subsequent years. The deal cost India ₹59,000 crores.

The United States recently reduced its troops in Europe, shifting them to Asia. In his statement, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said that the shifting was done to aid “India and other Asian countries” against the Chinese intrusion.

Pompeo also accused China of escalating the border conflict with India, where casualties were observed on both sides. The US also shared its intelligence regarding Chinese intrusion and casualties.

In a landmark move, Lockheed Martin, an American defence technology company, recently extended its deal with Tata to produce more defence aircraft which would strengthen Indian defence. The move comes after the agreement of February 2020, when the US agreed to sell the Integrated Air Defence Weapon System (IADWS) to India for $1.87 billion.

On 4 June 2020, India and Australia signed a defence pact to strengthen security and defence relationships. The pact allows both countries the access to each other’s military bases. The step has come in the light of Australia demanding an independent inquiry into the origin and transmission of Covid-19, against which China imposed severe duties on barley coming from Australia.

  • India became the main base for the American China Burma India Theater (CBI) in the war against Japan during WW-II. Tens of thousands of American servicemen arrived, bringing all sorts of advanced technology, and money; they left in 1945.
  • Serious tension erupted over American demands, led by US President Franklin D. Roosevelt, that India be given independence, a proposition British Prime Minister Winston Churchill vehemently rejected. For years, Roosevelt had encouraged British disengagement from India. The American position was based on principled opposition to colonialism, practical concern for the outcome of the war, and the expectation of a large American role in a post-colonial era. Churchill threatened to resign if Roosevelt pushed too hard, so Roosevelt backed down.
  • The United States under the Truman administration leaned towards favouring India in the late-1940s as a consequence of most U.S. planners seeing India more valuable diplomatically than neighboring Pakistan. However, during the Cold War Nehru’s policy of neutrality was awkward to many American observers. American officials perceived India’s policy of non-alignment negatively. In 1948, Nehru rejected American suggestions for resolving the Kashmir crisis via third party mediation. Nehru’s 1949 tour of the United States was “an undiplomatic disaster” that left bad feelings on both sides

Are We In For A Better Monsoon This Year?

Are We In For A Better Monsoon This Year?

While facing the Covid-19 issue, some relief has been provided to India with the onset of monsoon, though adding to the existing troubles at some places.

Crux of the Matter

Monsoon In India
One can divide the Indian monsoon into 2 main branches. The first one is the southwestern monsoon, which occurs in the period of June-September. It accounts for 75% of the total rainfall and moves from sea to land.

The second branch is called Post-monsoon or the northeastern monsoon. It occurs in the period of October-December and moves from land to sea.

Rainfall Distribution In India
The average rainfall in India is 125 cm. However, the distribution varies greatly across the country. The western coast and the northeastern sections receive over 400 cm of rain yearly, while it is around 60 cm in western Rajasthan, and adjoining portions of Haryana, Punjab, and Gujarat.

Change in 2020
Indian monsoon begins around 1st June. However, 2020 has witnessed a change in the amounts of rainfall which is being welcomed by experts. Across the country, rainfall increased by 70% in the first week of June as compared to the same period across several years. The number was increased to 157% in the central region, with the drastic increase occurring due to the occurrence of Cyclone Nisarga in the early period of June.

Trouble For Bihar
Bihar recently witnessed floods due to the overflow of the Mahananda river, affecting Kishanganj, Purniya, and Katihar districts mainly.

The flood stirred memories of 2019 when a deadly flood hit Bihar. More than 100 people were killed, with more than 8.8 million people being affected.

Anxiety For Assam
Assam also witnessed severe flooding recently, with more than 9.3 lakh people being affected while recording 18 casualties so far.

The recent events have created a fear regarding the severity of the flood, as Assam witnessed a severe flood in 2019. More than 4.3 million people were affected, and 91 casualties were recorded in the disaster which seriously impacted the state.

  • The Great Famine of 1876–1878 was a famine in India under Crown rule. It began in 1876 after an intense drought resulting in crop failure in the Deccan Plateau. The famine covered an area of 670,000 square kilometres and caused distress to a population totalling 58,500,000.
  • It was not until the invention of the electric telegraph in 1835 that the modern age of weather forecasting began. By the late 1840s, the telegraph allowed reports of weather conditions from a wide area to be received almost instantaneously, allowing forecasts to be made from knowledge of weather conditions further upwind.
  • The etymology of the word monsoon is not wholly certain but some studies suggest that it is derived from the Arabic mausim, meaning “seasonal reversal of winds”. The term was first used in English in British India and neighbouring countries to refer to the big seasonal winds blowing from the Bay of Bengal and Arabian Sea in the southwest bringing heavy rainfall to the area.

Russia Holds Trilateral Meet With India And China

Russia Holds Trilateral Meet With India And China

While hosting a meeting with India and China, Russia witnessed prominent guests for its ‘special day’ and enhanced relations with the Indian state.

Crux of the Matter

RIC Meet
RIC meet, which is a trilateral meeting between Russia, India, and China, took place on 23rd June through video conferencing. The meeting occurred between the Ministers of External Affairs of the respective nations. No discussion on bilateral issues like the recent border clashes between India and China occurred, with the Russian foreign minister Sergei Lavrov declaring no “need” of mediation.

I don’t think India and China need any help from outside. I don’t think they need to be helped, especially when it comes to country issues. They can solve them on their own… [this means recent events.]

Sergei Lavrov, Foreign Minister, Russia

Indian Contribution And Demands
Dr. S Jaishankar, the Minister of External Affairs of India, raised issues like the structure of the UN and called for an increased adherence to the international laws.

Respecting international law, recognizing the legitimate interests of partners, supporting multilateralism and promoting common good is the only way of building a durable world order.

Dr S Jaishankar, Minister of External Affairs, India

Dr. Jaishankar also highlighted the contribution of India in international matters and called for a revision in the UN structure.

India made a significant contribution [to achieve victory over Nazism and Fascism], with 2.3 million of its citizens under arms and 14 million more participating in war production. Indian blood was shed at the battlefields of the world, from Tobruk, El Alamein and Montecassino, to Singapore, Kohima and Borneo.

We helped keep key supply lines open to both your countries, one through the Persian corridor and the other over the Himalayan hump. If Indian personnel were conferred the Order of the Red Star, the medical mission led by Dr Kotnis was a legend in China. So tomorrow, when our military contingent marches through the Red Square, it would be an affirmation of the difference that we made.

Dr S Jaishankar, Minister of External Affairs, India

Victory Day Parade
On 9th May, the Moscow Victory Day Parade is taken out every year. The event commemorates the victory of the Allies over the Axis Forces in World War II. The date was chosen as Germany surrendered on 9 May 1945.

In 2020, the parade was delayed to 24 June owing to the Covid-19 pandemic. It marked a special occasion for India as its contingent of 75 members from its 3 armed forces took part in the parade.

Defence Meet
Rajnath Singh, the Defence Minister of India, attended the parade as a high-profile guest as a part of his 3-day visit to “strengthen the longstanding special and privileged strategic partnership between India and Russia”.

In the meeting, Rajnath Singh also discussed the provision of weapons with Russia, which promised the delivery of S-400 Missile Systems within 2-3 months while “speeding up” the delivery to the possible extent.

Russian Impact In Indian Conflicts
In the early 1960s, Russia offered MiG-21 jets to India to enhance security. However, it stopped the supply in 1962 at the time of the Indo-China war. The situation changed again in 1971 when Russia supported India in the Indo-Pak war by countering the US fleets supporting Pakistan.

In 2019, Russia diverged from Pakistan and China regarding the Kashmir issue. In its statement, Russia declared the removal of article 370 as an “internal matter” of India.

  • India is the second-largest market for the Russian defence industry. In 2017, approximately 68% of the Indian Military’s hardware import came from Russia, making Russia the chief supplier of defence equipment.
  • The Treaty of Good-Neighborliness and Friendly Cooperation between the People’s Republic of China and the Russian Federation (FCT) is a twenty-year strategic treaty that was signed by the leaders of the two international powers, Jiang Zemin and Vladimir Putin, on July 16, 2001. The treaty outlines the broad strokes which are to serve as a basis for peaceful relations, economic cooperation, as well as diplomatic and geopolitical reliance.
  • On November 23, 2010, at a meeting of the Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin and the Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao, it was announced that Russia and China have decided to use their own national currencies for bilateral trade, instead of the U.S. dollar. The move was aimed to further improve the relations between Beijing and Moscow and to protect their domestic economies during the financial crisis of 2007–2008.

How Did China Become The People’s Republic?

How Did China Become The People's Republic?

With the recent hostilities shown to India, China’s aggressive policies have a history of communist regime engaged in conflict with several ideologies. We explore the history of today’s China, primarily how it became a People’s Republic.

Crux of the Matter

Early Chinese History
China was under the rule of the Qing dynasty from 1644. In 1894, the first Sino-Japanese war occurred over dominance in Korea. The war ended in a defeat for China, and Taiwan acceding to Japan.

In 1899-1900, the Boxer Rebellion was started, where the secret society under the name of ‘Boxer’ started to remove and kill foreigners in China. The retaliation of the Western nations further diminished the Chinese economy. Consequently, in 1912, the Xinhai revolution occurred where the Qing dynasty was removed and the Republic of China (ROC) was established. The revolutionary Sun Yat-sen became the first President.

1920s: The CPC Emerges
The Communist Party of China (CPC) was established in 1921, with the party initially adhering to Marxism-Leninism. The party was formed after the May Fourth movement, with mass protests following the Treaty of Versailles after World War I. In the treaty, territories of China annexed by Germany were handed over to Japan, which incensed the Chinese.

In 1924, the CPC formed an alliance with the Kuomintang (KMT), or the Nationalist Party of China. However, the situation became precarious as the KMT President Chiang Kai-Shek ordered the massacre of CPC workers after which they went underground.

Civil War And Establishment of People’s Republic of China
In 1931, a civil war broke out between the Red Army (armed forces of the CPC) and the Nationalist Party. The condition of China further deteriorated as Japan invaded in 1937 in the background of World War II.

In 1949, the civil war ended with the Communist Party of China emerging victorious, and the People’s Republic of China (PRC) was established. Chiang Kai-Shek and his soldiers escaped to Taiwan where they established their rule. Until 1971, the Republic of China (ROC) was accepted by the United Nations as a Chinese representative, after which it started recognizing the People’s Republic of China as the official representative.

Communist Regime
In 1949, Mao Zedong became the Chairman of the CPC and the ruler of China. His method was different from the initial ideology of Marxism-Leninism, which created a branch of the Marxist ideology known as Maoism.

The Great Leap Forward
Mao initiated the Great Leap Forward in 1958, with the aim of changing China from an agrarian society to a communist and self-sufficient industrial nation. The move shifted people into communes, changed the farming techniques, and forced people to produce steel in their backyards. At the same time, Mao also ran the Four Pests Campaign which sought to kill rats, flies, mosquitoes, and sparrows as they spread diseases or ate the crops. The government even declared birds as “public animals of capitalism”.

The Leap Forward failed disastrously as the agricultural output was damaged severely while the steel production proved futile. With the step being combined with disasters like floods, 20-48 million people died, with the majority of the deaths occurring due to starvation.

Cultural Revolution
The Cultural Revolution was initiated by Mao in 1966. The movement aimed to “crush” people living the “capitalist” mode of life and to ‘re-educate’ people in Maoism. Initially, schools and places of religious worship were closed down to be restructured. However, the movement turned violent as the Red Guards, comprising of students, started killing intellectuals, opposition members, and anyone deemed “capitalist”.

The movement ended in 1976 with the death of Mao, with more than 2 million deaths reported.

Deng Rule
Deng Xiaoping of the CPC took the lead after the death of Mao in 1976. He decreased the authoritarianism of the government and removed the restrictions imposed on the market. His adding of the ‘free market’ to the communist nation created ‘market socialism’ for China, which has decreased the poverty rate from 90% in 1981 to 2% in 2013. Deng also made peace with Japan to a certain extent and implemented the ‘1 child’ policy to control the population explosion in China. He also imposed the limit of 2 consecutive terms for Presidency, which was recently modified by the current President Xi Jinping.

  • Chiang Kai-shek was a Chinese nationalist politician, revolutionary and military leader who served as the leader of the Republic of China. Chiang was the longest-serving non-royal ruler of China who held the post for 46 years.
  • The Qin dynasty was the first dynasty of Imperial China, lasting from 221 to 206 BC. The dynasty was founded by Qin Shi Huang, the First Emperor of Qin.
  • The Qing dynasty was the last imperial dynasty of China. It was established in 1636 and ruled China proper from 1644 to 1912. It was preceded by the Ming dynasty and succeeded by the Republic of China. It was the fifth largest empire in world history in terms of territorial size.