US President Donald Trump has said it is a "badge of honour" for America to "lead" the world with 3.5 million confirmed Covid19 cases since it means the US is testing more people for the disease that has killed nearly 100,000 people in US alone, when at global level the number of confirmed cases has reached 60 million, with nearly 4 lakh dead by 23rd May. He thinks that, in a certain respect, as being a good thing because it means the testing is much better. "So when we have a lot of cases," he continued, "I don't look at that as a bad thing, I look at that as, in a certain respect, as being a good thing because it means our testing is much better." It is for people of US to decide whether such a fascist with Evangelical outlook should lead them! But there is a method in Trump’s madness! It serves his imperialist vision. In this manner he conceals the fact that though the WHO alerted all countries on 7th January about the dangerous spreading of Covid19, he did not bother about it till the number of patients crossed tens of thousands; he still protects the corporate houses and super rich private hospitals who refuse to help in providing affordable Covid-19 treatment to people; he also conceals the fact that it is the Blacks who are affected by Covid19 in larger numbers, and that more than 75% of dead are also Blacks who are below 20% of the population. So, without concrete steps to control the infection and to help the Blacks and other poorer sections, Trump is ending lockdown and opening all fields for helping production to catch up with rivals of US at the global market, with business as usual.
Modi is also following Trump’s ways faithfully, though on one count, on the excellence of testing done in India he has nothing to boast. At the same time, similar to US, the number of patients and dead have started galloping in India also. Like Trump, Modi also did not bother when WHO called for health alert and for starting preparations to combat Covid-19 which was spreading fast globally. Even after the first case was detected in India, though WHO had called for observation and testing/quarantine for all international passengers at airports, it was put in to effect from 12th march only. By that time 15 lakh passengers came through airports including those much maligned Tablighi Jamaat’s foreign guests without getting checked and tested. Till 24th March Indian companies were exporting ventilators, safety kits and testing kits and other medical requirements, none of which could be sufficiently procured even up to this time. Modi was busy with Delhi elections, suppression of anti NPR/NRC movement, toppling Congress govt in MP like BJP programs. Then the announcement to start 21 days lockdown from midnight of 24th March came just four hours before, without taking the state governments or the people in confidence. This abrupt order is entirely responsible for the still continuing colossal distress including hundreds of deaths due to starvation and accidents forced on the tens of millions of migrant workers.
When the first lockdown was declared, the covid19 patients were nearly 500.But when 60 days of lockdown is over, still Modi government could not provide adequate numbers of test kite, safety kits, ventilators etc. required for such a vast country. It is not ready to disturb the super rich private hospitals to provide Covid-19 treatment at affordable rates. Lockdown are allowed to be violated with immunity for Hindutva programs, No wages or allowance is given to the 400 million contract/casual workers who lost jobs and shelters and in acute distress. Adequate free ration was not given to all though FCI godowns are over full with food grains. In short, while announcing lockdown was needed, as WHO repeatedly announced, testing facilities and medical preparations were not sufficiently made. As a result, contrary to Modi government’s tall claims, by 24th May the number of patients and dead have jumped to 1,30,000 and about 3800, and fast increasing fast day by day.
Meanwhile, following Trump, without rectifying the gross mistakes and shortcomings which led to galloping impact of covid19 and acute distress to vast majority of the workers and oppressed sections, Modi also has ordered for easing out lockdown provisions, without taking the state governments in to confidence. By 1st June the lockdown may be withdrawn, with domestic flights and train services started, to begin economic activities fast. But what will happen to fighting the intensifying Covid19 spread? How its galloping numbers of patients and dead are going to be brought down? Who will give relief to the seriously impoverished the masses including the migrant workers many of whom are still on the roads or rails? There are no answers. At the same time, Modi government was using Covid-19 as a cover to spread Islamophobia and implement RSS agenda, It has intensified fascist state terror by leaps and bounds to suppress Kashmir people, Muslims as a whole, especially the students and youth who were active in the anti-NPR/NRC movement, to announce more and more reactionary orders for further plunder of the working class and peasantry, and to saffronise every section of the state apparatus. While it totally failed to control the spread of Covid19 or in helping the masses of the people from their acute distress, it is providing all incentives to the corporate forces and to the elite Brahmanical sections. Its crimes against the people are mounting.
Modi’s crimes against the people should be exposed and powerful movements should be launched to throw him out of power and to realize a people’s alternative with the working class in the forefront. This is the first and foremost task before all progressive forces
India is fast losing its friends in the neighbourhood. This time, the top priority project of Modi, a road to reach Kailash-Manasarovar in Tibet, is the prime reason for antagonizing Nepal and provoking border skirmishes with China. Government of Nepal has published a political map of the country which includes Kalapani, Limpiyadhura and Lipulekh as part of its sovereign territory based on 1816 treaty signed by British with then ruler of Nepal, through which the road goes. Nepal PM has asked India govt to remove “encroachments” from the area.
Indian army chief General M.M. Naravane’s remarks that the Nepali government had protested the inauguration of India’s link road to Mount Kailash in Lipulekh at the behest of China has united all sections of Nepalese society – including all the political parties in the opposition against it. India’s sovereignty over the Lipulekh Pass is yet to be established as it continues to be a disputed region. In the last 26 years of discussions, the Nepal-India Joint Technical Level Boundary Committee was able to settle nearly 97% of the border, but failed to resolve the dispute over Kalapani and Susta. In 2009, both sides had “agreed to resolve the long standing border disputes between the two countries at various places, including Kalapani and Susta through further discussions.”
The Lipulekh Pass, which lies at the centre of the current dispute, is situated at an altitude of 5,000 metres. Nepal claims that the Indian army has encroached 372 square kilometres towards Limpiyadhura from Kalapani since the 1962 Indo-China war. At that time, Nepal, as a friendly neighbour, granted permission to the Indian army to set up a camp in the region. Subsequently, despite several firm requests by Nepal to evacuate the camp, India continued the occupation. Reports from Nepal claim that Indians from UP and Bihar have encroached on over 60,000 hectares of land in 23 out of the 75 bordering districts. There is a great deal of hue and cry in Nepal over encroachment. As India refuses to even discuss these, and now has constructed the road stealthily, it has enraged the Nepalese people greatly. PM of Nepal, Oli’s words reflect it. The Indian army chief‘s comments not only wounded Nepalese national sentiment. It has dragged China also in to this dispute, and as US hurriedly came forward supporting India and accusing China, these border skirmishes have given an international character to the dispute. The Nepali prime minister’s harsh comment on India in Nepal’s parliament recently is an indication of a deepening sense of alienation. Under Modi, once again the army chief has made foray into external relations, worsening the situation. Is history is repeating? Was it not the arrogant treatment given to Chinese PM Chou Enlai by the UP CM Gobind Ballab Pant along with the enthusiastic interference by US president Kennedy worsened the Indo-China relations, abruptly ended the conciliation talks and led to India’s China War in 1962?
During the last six years, Modi govt has worsened relations with all neighbours with its arrogant, majoritarian Hindutva approach. So, all of them who had complaints about India’s expansionism and big brotherly attitude have moved away. In continuation to its reactionary, divisive internal policy based on hate politics, relations are spoiled not only with the neighbours, but with all the Arab countries. Its foreign policy is focused only on strategic junior partnership with US administration. Naturally, US exploit the situation, trying to provoke a proxy war between India and China, to settle its own contradictions with it. It shows how under Modi India is dragged in to a situation in which the Indian army may be used as cannon fodder in another conflict with China, to serve US interests. It is not patriotism Modi, it is treason! All progressive forces should create public opinion to prevent Modi playing another dangerous game, making people suffer for his follies