SARANSH SAXENA: COVID 19
In a last couple of months, most of the countries around the world, declared a total lockdown due to rapidly spread global pandemic ‘Novel Coronavirus Disease or COVID-19. This deadly virus originated in Wuhan city of China in December 2019. During last 2 months, although this virus has devastated the social, political as well as economic life of nearly all the countries across the world, it has mostly affected the most developed and advanced country in the world, United States. This damage occurred in the US has increased tension between the two nations, US and China, previously arising out of the trade war, started in 2018. The US is suspecting China of intentionally spreading the virus, and further indicates vindictive steps to be taken in future in case probabilities turning positive.
In regard to the suspicion made by US, there can be two possible reasons to justify the intentional spread of virus by China. Firstly, taking into consideration the reducing youth ratio in Wuhan, China could have released the virus in order to control its rapidly increasing population and to increase the youth ratio in Wuhan, as well as in mainland China. Secondly, discussing the economical point of view, since China is currently 2nd largest economy in the world, after US, the virus spread and devastation occurred due to it, could positively affect its GDP, and further its economic growth ratio as compared to other countries. It would then possibly leave US behind in the race of becoming the largest economic power in the world.
As a reason of confronting China on the intentional spread of global pandemic COVID-19, US president Donald Trump is facing severe criticism from the popular media houses, as well as from China and its allies. Trump has been calling the Coronavirus as the ‘Chinese Originated Virus in December 2019’(COVID-19), apart from its original elaboration ‘Coronavirus Disease’. On being questioned, Trump justified the confrontation by the defence of their claim, that since this virus had spread from Wuhan in China, no offence exists on the part of US officials, by calling COVID-19 as the ‘Chinese Virus’.
In a recent press conference in Washington D.C., US president Donald Trump and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo pointed out that the COVID-19 spread could be a deliberate move of China. In regard to this, Trump proposed to send an investigation team to the Wuhan Virology Centre, from where the Coronavirus has spread. This proposal was rejected straightforward by Chinese president Xi Jinping, thus creating a room of doubt. Moving on the primary issue, intention of China is also marked by the fact that the patients of COVID-19 in China recovered at a faster rate as compared to that of other countries. This can be elaborated by the fact that the first patient of COVID-19 was identified in December 2019 in Wuhan, and the first patient in US was in January 2020. Now in the present situation, lockdown has been removed in China due to lack of new cases, while in US there are still 3000-4000 new cases every day. This lays emphasis on the fact that possibly China has developed vaccination for this virus, through which it is able to recover at a faster rate than to other countries in the world.
An out of context fact which can probably indicate towards intention of China is that, during this situation of global pandemic, when China declared lockdown to be removed, and no new cases to be found, many countries in the world sought China for help, and in return, China sent face masks, ventilators, PPE kits, etc. which proved to be defective and inefficient in dealing with coronavirus cases. Through this, the suspicion of China of not letting any other country’s economic condition to improve, and to maintain its superpower status gets concrete. Furthermore, it has also been marked by many countries and institutions like IMF, World Economic Forum etc., that the COVID-19 spread across the world could result in Global Economic Recession.
In respect to the decision regarding place of virus being originally spread, China claims the Coronavirus originates from bats, and is spread through a sea-food market in Wuhan, China. Adding to the point made by Chinese officials, Wuhan Virology center is fully capable of handling researches of various viruses, and possibility of virus being spread from the center has no concrete foundation. However, paradoxically to this statement, according to the US officials, this virus has spread originally from the Wuhan Virology Center, where along with this virus, research was being carried out on many types of other viruses too. The virus was spread by a lab doctor of center, who was the Ground Zero patient, which was further responsible for spreading the virus through the sea-food market into various countries across the world. As a matter of fact, American scientists carried out an inspection in the Wuhan Virology center in 2018. Their observations included the mention of Coronavirus, its deadly impacts, and the negligence of research center in being able to handle its implications.
On the other hand, with respect to the statement of Chinese officials, on the inspection of the sea-food market in Wuhan, it was found that there were no traces of bats being sold at that place. Hence, it can be said that in order to prevent the virology center being shut down and the Chinese reputation being deteriorated, China is building up the theory of the virus being spread through a sea-food market, and not from the Wuhan Virology Center.
Due to total lockdown been declared in almost all the countries across the world, while it proves to be beneficial and effective in defeating COVID-19, on the other hand, the ill-effect of lockdown can be seen through the affected global economy. Due to lack of new income in the countries, the lockdown being in effect for more than 3 months in most of the countries has now became a suffering for many. As a matter of fact, around 40% of people across the countries have lost their jobs due to shortage of money in the market. All these factors clearly indicate towards an approaching global economic recession which shall worsen the present situation. According to IMF, “The global economy is expected to shrink by over 3 per cent in 2020 – the steepest slowdown since the Great Depression of the 1930s.”It can be said that a 3% dip in the global economy at large shall take at least 10 years to regain its original form. According to MD of World Economic Forum Saadia Zahidi, “The crisis has devastated lives and livelihoods. It has triggered an economic crisis with far-reaching implications and revealed the inadequacies of the past.”
Discussing the economic situation in India, RBI governor Shaktikanta Das has consistently reduced the repo rate as well as the reverse repo rate in the last pre-term Monetary Policy Committee. Current monetary rates are 4% and 3.75% respectively. These rapid and steep changes in the monetary rates clearly indicate that the Indian economy is going through an economic turmoil, and thus efforts are being made in order to limit the implications arising from it.
Getting back to the primary issue, in case US and China enter into a world war post this period of COVID-19, India shall have a very clear stance in viewing the war and to also defend itself from its adverse implications. Strategizing the key participants of this probable war and its allies, we can analyse that mainly US and China shall be the deciding factors, which may also unite some of the other countries as a part of allies in order to provide assistance. In respect to US, it has trade and diplomatic relations with many countries across the world. Hence, it can include its key allies like Britain, Germany, France, Brazil, Israel, South Korea, Australia, Japan, etc.
On the other hand, if we discuss the key allies of China, we can observe that China also has trade and diplomatic relations with many countries across the world, but due to COVID-19 spread, many countries now share an adverse relationship with China. Hence, we can estimate China including its key allies in the war like North Korea, Pakistan, Russia, etc. Russia in this war, shall be on the side of China and not on the side of US due to the fact that it had an adverse relationship with US due to the Cold war. As a very smart war move, US has approached each country that shares its borders with China in order to surround it and to safeguard its offensive position in the war. Hence, India shall be providing its full support and cooperation to the US and its allies in the war. On the other side of this coin of war, this World War III between US, China and their allies could favourably result as a boost to the Indian economy, and shall improve the global market condition of Indian firms and enterprises.
Summing up, practically speaking, in case war occurs in US and China, India shall handle the peer pressure from international disorder, as well as sustain the needs and demands of its population in case of lack of new income from international trade. On the other hand, in case of the war being called off, steps shall be taken in advance in order to improve the Indian economy to sustain independently, regardless of interference of Chinese products in the Indian markets. In addition to that, the concept of ‘Aatmnirbharta’ or ‘Self-reliance’ proposed by Indian Prime Minister Mr. Narendra Modi shall be promoted and thus trade relations with Chinese firms shall be limited and more emphasis shall be given on goods and services engineered by Indian firms and enterprises.
Also Read: COVID-19 AND ENVIRONMENTAL LAW