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India’s vaccine diplomacy against China dominating policy in South Asia

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India is the largest manufacturer of generic medicine and wants to strengthen friendship by giving gift vaccines to neighboring countries. According to Nepal’s Health Minister Hridayesh Tripathi, “The Government of India has shown goodwill by granting the vaccine. It is happening at the level of the people, it is the people who were most affected by the Covid-19”.

Addressing the summit of the ongoing World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, through video conferencing, Modi said that the country has overcome all obstacles to fight the Corona epidemic. He Praised the country’s response to the Corona epidemic, added that so far two vaccines have been made in the country and many more vaccines are coming soon.  

India has sent millions of doses of Corona vaccine to South Asian countries like Bhutan, Maldives, Nepal, Bangladesh, Myanmar, Seychelles, Mauritius, and Sri Lanka in the last few weeks. While India is receiving appreciation from the neighboring country, India is pushing back its vaccine diplomacy in the South Asia region with China’s dominating presence.  Modi said that the vaccine made in the country has been exported to 150 countries and more vaccines will be made available to the world. 

Covid’s vaccination is a global initiative aimed at ensuring that all countries, regardless of their level of income, deliver the covid-19 vaccine quickly and in a uniform manner. The Maldives begins Covid vaccination in the country with India-made vaccine. World Health Organisation (WHO) wants to deliver two billion vaccines to the world’s most at-risk 20 percent by the end of the year. Under this, it has targeted to deliver the vaccine to 91 countries. 

Global Alliance for Vaccines and Immunization (GAVI) was created in 2000 and aims to give equal access to vaccines for children living in the world’s poorest countries. Under the Covid-19 vaccination program of the United Nations is aim is equitable distribution of covid vaccines and accelerate the development of vaccines.   WHO’s COVAX facility will get 150 million doses of the AstraZeneca and Oxford vaccines from India’s Serum Institute of India (SII).   Pakistan is the only country in South Asia that will begin its immunization program using China-made vaccines. Islamabad has also asked for 17 million doses of Astrazeneca from GAVI.  

India is adopting this liberal attitude at a time when its relations with Nepal were tense due to territorial dispute, its concern is also about the expansionist policy of China. Bangladesh was scheduled to receive 1,10,000 doses of Covid vaccine from Chinese Synovac Biotech, but Bangladesh refused to pay the cost price of the vaccine. In return, Bangladesh turned to India and demanded immediate supply, under which Bangladesh has gifted 2 million doses of Covishield of AstraZeneca.  

Afghanistan aid is being provided under the World Health Organization’s Covid’s vaccination program. Afghanistan’s Deputy Health Minister Waheed Mojarah confirmed that it may take up to six months to get the vaccines, but officials are busy trying to get it soon. According to Afghanistan Deputy Health Minister Waheed Mojarah, in addition to WHO COVAX’s, the country is also going to get five lakh doses of AstraZeneca from India.  

Bahrain was the first West Asian country to get India’s covid vaccine gift. A number of countries India has sent covid vaccine gift with over 55 lakh doses. Oman is the second West Asian country to get India’s covid vaccine gift. India sees west Asia as part of its extended neighborhood. 

India is moving forward with a resolve to become self-reliant. This aspiration for India’s self-reliance will strengthen globalization afresh. Prime Minister Modi raised the issue of self-reliant India at WEF, he said that it will strengthen globalization. Addressing the representatives of multinational companies online at the World Economic Forum, he said that he wants to give confidence to the business community of the world that now things will improve rapidly on the economic front.  PM Modi appealed to companies to invest in the country by taking advantage of policy reforms.     

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“President Uncle, forgive my mother”

a photo of Shabnam’s son went viral on social media, with a placard in his hand, “President Uncle Ji, forgive my mother.”

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a photo of Shabnam's son went viral on social media, with a placard in his hand, "President Uncle Ji, forgive my mother."

Shabnam will be the first woman to be hanged in independent India. While meeting her son in jail, she asked him to focus on his studies. At the same time, the son is requesting ‘President Uncle’ to forgive his mother.

Shabnam, who was sentenced to death, met his 12-year-old son on Sunday. The son along with his guardian Usman went to meet his mother Shabnam Ali in Rampur Jail and met for about 45 minutes. After meeting the mother, the son told the media that his mother has asked him to focus on his studies. He said, “My mother has asked me to focus on my studies. I again appeal to ‘President Uncle’ to forgive my mother.”

Superintendent of Rampur prison PD Salonia said, “The mother and son were eager to meet each other ever since it was reported that preparations for hanging Shabnam in Mathura jail have started. Shabnam’s son used to come to Rampur jail with his guardian every 3 months to meet his mother. Likewise, came to meet his mother on Sunday afternoon. The meeting lasted for 45 minutes. “

Shabnam, 38, killed 7 members of his family – his mother, father, two brothers, sister-in-law, cousin, and 10-month-old nephew, who objected to the relationship with Salim. Shabnam was pregnant at that time. Then she gave birth to a son in Moradabad Jail in 2008. When the son was 6 years old, the Child Welfare Committee (CWC) in Amroha handed him over to his guardian, a resident of Bulandshahr district.

Meanwhile, in 2010, Shabnam and Salim were sentenced to death, convicted of these murders. Shabnam petitioned against this order in many courts, also applied a mercy petition to the President, which was rejected.

Now preparations are on to hang Shabnam in Mathura jail. Jail director-general Anand Kumar has said, “As soon as the date for hanging is fixed and a warrant for the death penalty is issued, Shabnam will be taken to Mathura jail for hanging.” Shabnam will be the first woman to be hanged in independent India.

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Historic move, Nagaland plays national anthem in Legislative Assembly for the first time since 1964

Nagaland, the northeastern state of India, has been collecting headlines only for militancy, separatism and violence since attaining the status of a separate state.

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Nagaland, the northeastern state of India, has been collecting headlines only for militancy, separatism and violence since attaining the status of a separate state.

Nagaland, which has made headlines for separatism and violence, is now in the news for playing the national anthem in the assembly. The national anthem has never been played there since the formation of a separate state fifty-eight years ago. Nagaland was given the status of a separate state on 1 December 1963, after being cut from Assam. But now after 58 years, during the budget session of the assembly for the first time, the National Anthem has been played in the House.

In the state of Tripura too, the national anthem was played for the first time in the house only after the BJP government came to power in the year 2018. Especially for Nagaland, it is being called a historic moment. Nagaland was part of Assam at the time of independence of the country in 1947. After that on 1 December 1963, it was given the status of a separate state. The first assembly was formed in February after the state assembly elections held in January 1964.

Assembly Speaker Sharingain Longkumer said, “I had suggested to play the national anthem before the Governor’s address to the House. The government also supported the proposal. He refused to comment on the question as to why the national anthem was not played in Nagaland till now. He said I am proud to start this tradition of playing the national anthem here in the House. Ever since I became a part of the thirteenth assembly, I used to miss the national anthem in the House. After becoming the Speaker, I consulted the Chief Minister on this issue. On getting his green signal, the way of playing it in the house was cleared.

Longkumer was elected as a member of the Nationalist Democratic Progressive Party (NDPP) in the 2019 by-election and became an assembly member. State legislator and former assembly speaker C Sajo says, “There has never been this tradition before. But according to the protocol, if the governor wants, the national anthem can be played in the house. Its decision depends on the Speaker.”

Constitutional experts say that playing the national anthem is not mandatory in the state assembly. It is played as a tradition. Subhash Kashyap, general secretary of the Lok Sabha, says, “There is nothing in the constitution that mandates the playing of the national anthem. It is a matter of respect for this song.”

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Puducherry political crisis: What will happen next?

The Chief Minister alleged that Governor used to interfere in the daily affairs of the government, prohibited government appointments, prevented the government from taking decisions, and even reversed the decisions at times.

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On February 16, the President removed Kiran Bedi from the post of Governor and handed over the additional charge of the state to the Governor of Telangana.

This political pull in Puducherry is the result of a long-running power struggle between Congress and the BJP at the national level. In Puducherry, Congress was left in power in the southern states only. In July 2019, similarly in Karnataka, due to the resignation of Congress MLAs, the Congress-JD (S) government fell and the BJP came to power.

What will happen after this in the state is not yet clear. The second-largest party in the House is the NR Congress and if it lays claim to form the government, the Governor can invite NR Congress. Since the elections are just two months away, the Governor can implement President’s rule till then.

There are only three Bharatiya Janata Party MLAs in Puducherry, but it is believed that if the NR Congress and AIADMK together form the government, then all three BJP MLAs will also join it. The BJP hopes that this will also affect the politics of the neighboring state of Tamil Nadu. Elections are held simultaneously in both the states and usually the victory of the same party or coalition prevails in both states. In 2016, the Congress-DMK coalition got a majority in Puducherry but in Tamil Nadu, the AIADMK formed the government.

At the beginning of the tenure of the Puducherry government, a tussle between Chief Minister Narayanasamy and then Governor Kiran Bedi started and continued. The Chief Minister alleged that Governor used to interfere in the daily affairs of the government, prohibited government appointments, prevented the government from taking decisions, and even reversed the decisions at times.

In February 2019, Narayanasamy was sitting on a sit-in protest against Kiran Bedi for six days. In January 2020, the Chief Minister once again sat on a three-day dharna demanding the removal of the Governor. On February 16, the President removed Kiran Bedi from the post of Governor and handed over the additional charge of the state to the Governor of Telangana.

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