By blowing up a joint liaison office on the border with South Korea and threatening to deploy troops along the demilitarised zone, North Korea is back to what it is best at — aggressive posturing with the threat of war.
Troubles began in the peninsula early this year after a deadline the North dictated to the U.S. to achieve progress in the denuclearisationtalksexpiredonDecember 31.
North Korea has conducted missile tests this year, sending warning signals to Seoul and Washington.
The latest crisis was triggered by anti-North defector groups that sent out propaganda leaflets via balloons across the border.
Angered by the South’s refusal to crack down on them, Pyongyang has severed hotlines, demolishedthe liaison office, and is planning to deploy troops along the border.
Tensions now risk rolling back whatever little was achieved through engagement over the past two years.
Two years after S. President Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong-un met in Singapore to discuss denuclearisation, little has been achieved in that direction.
It is likely that the North is now trying to get back Trump’s attention.
There were no high hopes of a quick solution to the U.S.-North Korean rivalry — it goes back to the 1950-53 Korean war — when Mr. Trump and Mr. Kim met.
Kim had in principle agreed to denuclearisation in return for the lifting of American sanctions. But talks stalled as the U.S. insisted on “complete, verifiable and irreversible denuclearization” by North Korea in return for any concession.
The North Koreans were wary, particularly because of the U.S.’s history of going after dictators such as Saddam Hussein of Iraq and Muammar Gaddafi of Libya or its breaching of the Iran nuclear deal.
Kim’s regime offered a staged approach. It put a freeze on nuclear tests and offered to shut its Yongbyon nuclear complex. The U.S. and South Korea could have responded to these measures and kept the talks on track.
Worse, the U.S. and South Korea went ahead with their jointmilitary exercise.
Trump is now grappling with many problems at home — from the coronavirusoutbreak and a sagging economy, to anti-racismprotests.
In new lockdown, a second chance for Tamil Nadu
With 54,449confirmed cases of the novel coronavirus in the State, as on June 19, Tamil Nadu has the second highest numbers recorded after Maharashtra (over 1,20,500).
Delhi closely follows with nearly 50,000cases.
The number of new cases recorded in Tamil Nadu, especially in Chennai, has been steadily rising.
Deaths too have increased, from 87 on May 20 to 666 on June 19, a 16-fold increase.
Death toll has been above 40 since June 15.
The State has been increasing the number of tests carried out each day since May 20.
So far, Tamil Nadu has carried out 8,00,443 tests as on June 18, which is higher than Maharashtra, with 7,19,637 tests.
The test positivity rate which has been steadily increasing since June 1, reaching a peak on June 9 with 7%, has been reducing since June 14 when the number of tests each day has been climbing; it was 8.5% on June 17.
According to Giridhara R. Babu, Head – Lifecourse Epidemiology, Indian Institute of Public Health, Public Health Foundation of India, Bengaluru, it could be a combination of good surveillance and higher prevalence of the virus in the case of Tamil Nadu.
But he is quick to add that surveillance could have remained constant and not drastically changed in a matter of a few days and hence the increase in test positivity is more a reflection of the higherprevalence of infected people in the community.
The only way to reduce the true prevalence of infected people in the community is by further ramping up testing, contacttracing and quarantining of contacts and isolating those who test positive.
The most important departure that Tamil Nadu needs to make is to actively look for cases in Chennai and certain parts of three adjoiningdistricts (Chengalpattu, Kancheepuram and Tiruvallur) where the most cases are being reported.
There is compulsion to carry out door-to-doorsurveillance and test anyone who shows even one of the 15 COVID-19 symptoms recognised by the Health Ministry, including a loss of smell and taste, which was recently included.
Another important shift in strategy should be in testing widely without insisting on a person’s travel history or contact with a known positive case as a prerequisite for testing.
If the virus spread in Dharavi, Asia’s largest slum, in Mumbai, can be controlled, there is no reason why Tamil Nadu cannot achieve the same feat.
Proactive screening door-to-door, aggressivetesting, quarantining of people suspected to be infected and isolation of those testing positive helped contain the virus spread in Dharavi.
In addition, the BrihanmumbaiMunicipalCorporation established fever clinics for the early detection of cases.
Beijing should note (IndExp)
In pushing India to a tipping point, China is close to losing the hard-won trust of the world’s second most populous nation and a large neighbour.
If the 1962 war saw the freezing of bilateral relations for the next quarter of a century, thecurrent crisis could lead to a chill that lasts longer.
KeepingIndia’s trust, however, might look like a trivialmatter to the current Chinese Communist Party leadership.
India might be the world’s fifth largest economy, but it is one-fifththe size of China’s.
Beijing is acutely sensitive to power differentials, and sees an India that is struggling to find an effective response to the Chinese manoeuvre in Ladakh.
By all accounts, Beijing feels confident that it can confront all the major powers simultaneously.
It bets that economic interdependence and political influence operations can easily break up any potential hostile coalition that might emerge within and among them.
Coming to the Asian neighbours, the CCP believes that it owes no explanation for taking territories and waters that it claims as its own
It is convinced that China’s “historic rights” take precedence over international law and good neighbourliness — whether it is in the South China Sea or in the Himalayas.
The sensitivities of its neighbours — from Japan to Indonesia and Philippines to India — hardly make an impression on the Chinese sense of entitlement today.
CCP should know that China is not the first power to be overwhelmed by narcissism and hubris.
Imperial Japan and Nazi Germany believed they were unstoppable in Asia and Europe in the run-up to the Second World War.
Soviet Russia, too, believed in the late 1970s that America was in irreversible decline after its humiliating defeat in Vietnam and a string of socialist revolutions, from Cambodia to Namibia and from Afghanistan to Mozambique.
But the tide eventually turned against all the three great powers that ended up in history’s dustbin.
It has been easy for Beijing to underestimate India’s strategic resilience that produces unity amidst crises.
The CCP might also be under-estimating India’s tradition of “non-cooperation”.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi has said that neither is anyone inside Indian territory nor has any of its posts been captured.
The Prime Minister was speaking at an All Party Meeting held through video conferencing last evening to discuss the situation in India-China border areas.
Presidents of various political parties participated in the meeting.
Mr Modi said, twenty brave soldiers of the country made the supreme sacrifice for the nation in Ladakh but also taught a lesson to those who had dared to look towards our motherland.
He said, the country will forever remember their valour and sacrifice.
The Prime Minister said, the Army has been given full freedom to take necessary steps and India has also conveyed its position clearly to China through diplomatic means.
The Prime Minister stressed that India wants peace and friendship, but upholding sovereignty is foremost.
He added that through the All Party Meeting, he wants to assure the families of the martyrs that the entire country stands with them.
Mr Modi said, the entire country is hurt and angry at the steps taken by China at the Line of Actual Control (LAC) .
He highlighted that the government has given primacy to development of border area infrastructure to make country's borders more secure.
The leaders of the political parties hailed the bravery displayed by the armed forces in Ladakh.
They reposed faith in the leadership of the Prime Minister in this hour of need and expressed commitment to stand united with the government.
In the meeting, Congress President Sonia Gandhi said, the party and the entire opposition unitedly stand by country's defence forces and are prepared to make any sacrifice to ensure they are battle ready.
NCP's Sharad Pawar stressed that issues of whether soldiers carried arms or not are decided by international agreements and the parties need to respect sensitivities involved in such matters.
Trinamool Congress chief Mamata Bannerjee said that her party stands strongly in solidarity with the government.
Telangana Chief Minister K Chandrashekar Rao has announced a compensation of five crore rupees to the family of martyred Colonel Santosh Babu.
The breaveheart made the supreme sacrifice for the nation in the line of duty during a face-off with Chinese troops at Gawan Valley earlier this week.
In honour of martyred soldier's bravery, the government decided to offer Group-I job to the slain military official's wife and a residential plot.
In Jammu and Kashmir, Senior police and Army officers said that the last one-and-a-half years have been the most peaceful times in the Union Territory.
They added that with every successful anti-terrorist operation, security forces are moving on the path of peace.
Director General of Jammu and Kashmir Police Dilbag Singh said that the mission of the security forces is to stabilise peace in Jammu and Kashmir and they were continuously working towards attaining that.
Mr Dilbag Singh further said that during the last about five-and-a-half months, over 100 terrorists have been neutralised.
He added that about half-a-dozen successful operations have been conducted in Jammu region as well in which around a dozen terrorists have been neutralised.
Results of all eight states that went to polls for Rajya Sabha have been declared.
Voting was held for 19 seats spread over eight states yesterday.
Jyotiraditya Scindia of BJP, Congress leader Digvijaya Singh and former Jharkhand Chief Minister and Jharkhand Mukti Morcha (JMM) Chief Shibu Soren were among those elected to 19 Rajya Sabha seats.
Of the 19 seats, four each were from Andhra Pradesh and Gujarat, three each from Madhya Pradesh and Rajasthan, two from Jharkhand, and one each from Manipur, Mizoram and Meghalaya.
The Central Government has said that the recovery rate of COVID-19 patients has reached 53.80 per cent in the country and a total of two lakh four thousand 711 people affected with corona virus have been cured so far.
The Health and Family Welfare Ministry said, a total of 13 thousand 586 new cases of corona virus have been reported in the last 24 hour taking the total number of cases to three lakh 80 thousand 532.
The Government has decided to establish 1000 Khelo India Centers (KIC) at the district level across the country.
These centers will either be run by a past champion or have them as coaches.
The move is to tap into the expertise of past sporting champions for grassroot-level training of athletes and also to ensure a sustained source of income for them in the sports ecosystem.