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WHO wants India to extend lockdown so that China can beat us

World Health Organization

Chinese President Xi Jinping ordering military build-up against India and the World Health Organization (WHO) warning of a “second peak” of coronavirus cases during the first wave if lockdown is relaxed.

Two entirely different news items emanating from two places, Beijing and Geneva, thousands of miles apart—yet, both seem linked. And India can ignore the link at its own peril. “Xi, 66, who is also the General Secretary of the ruling Communist Party of China (CPC) and head of the two-million-strong military with prospects of lifelong tenure in power, made the remarks while attending a plenary meeting of the delegation of the People's Liberation Army (PLA) and People's Armed Police Force during the current parliament session being held here [Beijing],” PTI reported The Chinese President “ordered the military to think about worst-case scenarios, scale up training and battle preparedness, promptly and effectively deal with all sorts of complex situations and resolutely safeguard national sovereignty, security and development interests,” even though he didn’t spell out the country that is threatening China.

A day earlier, the WHO stepped up scaremongering. Mike Ryan, the WHO’s head of emergencies, told the media that the world was “right in the middle of the first wave.” Covid-19 was “still on the way up,” he said, adding that countries need to be aware that “the disease can jump up at any time.” The WHO has made a tryst with mendacity and deceit. When countries wanted to know about the lethality and transmissibility of the novel coronavirus, it lulled them into believing that there was hardly any danger.

Its chief, Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, who owes his position to Beijing, did everything to serve the interests of his Chinese masters. When CCP bosses wanted Tedros to downplay the threat, he did that. We can only guess about their motive. Did they want to hurt US President Donald Trump, the thorn in their flesh? After all, Trump had proved to be a roadblock in their march toward global domination, not just by starting a trade war but also checking Chinese infiltration in the US in various manifestations—theft of intellectual property, corrupting and engaging scientists, undermining institutions, and so on.

By the end of December 2019, it had become evident that Trump could not be removed by way of impeachment. The American economy under him was doing exceptionally well, with median incoming zooming, investment coming back, and jobs getting created, especially for blacks and other minorities. The possibility of Trump’s re-election in November appeared very good in January, the month in which the WHO spread dangerous lies and misinformation.

The WHO did it at the behest of China, but what was China’s motivation? Did it impel the world body to lie because it wanted to hurt Trump’s prospects in the re-election? We may never know the answer for certain, but this is within the realm of possibility. It is, however, beyond doubt that the WHO is again spreading fear about ending the lockdown. While WHO bosses want the entire world to remain shut till a vaccine or cure is found—nobody knows when this would happen—they have said little, if anything, to lock China down.

The WHO guidance is only for the countries which are already shut, not about the ones which are not; and China is not. In fact, there was never a nationwide shutdown in China; it was only the Hubei province, where the epicenter Wuhan is, that was locked down—even at the peak of the pandemic. As a result, the Chinese economy today is not as badly hit as other economies are.

Things are moving towards normalcy in China, whereas the long, nationwide lockdown has crippled India. This has had a bad effect on our defence preparedness. The Times Of India reported on April 24, “No major deal for new weapon systems for the armed forces will be inked in at least the first quarter of the ongoing fiscal in the backdrop of the government grappling with the huge financial impact of Covid-19 pandemic in the country.”

In an article, Kartik Bommakanti and Angad Singh of the Observer Research Foundation wrote on May 14 that “the defence budget will be heavily constrained not just this year, but for many years hence.” If the lockdown is further extended, the constraints would be for much longer and harder. It is quite evident that lockdown extensions hurt not just India’s economy but also national security. China would, thus, like India to keep extending the lockdown. This is the reason that the WHO is asking us to do so. The Narendra Modi government should beware of the extension trap.