CHENNAI WEDNESDAY JUNE 17, 2020 `7.00 PAGES 16 LATE CITY EDITION FIRST LIFE-SAVER FOR COVID FOUND IN LARGE UK TRIAL Low-cost generic steroid reduced deaths by one-third among severely ill hospitalised people in a 6,000-patient trial DEXAMETHASONE’S SIGNIFICANT BENEFITS HOW STEROID DRUGS WORK Patients who are on ventilators or on oxygen due to Covid-19 could benefit from dexamethasone. Scientists at the University of Oxford said their trial compared outcomes of 2,104 patients randomly given the drug with those of 4,321 patients who didn’t get it. The drug reduced deaths by 35% in those on ventilators and by 20% in those only needing additional oxygen ■ ■ ■ Dexamethasone tamps down the body’s uncontrolled inflammatory response to the virus in very sick patients The drug didn’t appear to help those not on respiratory support Experts urge caution about the trial results as they haven’t been published yet in a peer-reviewed journal | P12 54,625 PEOPLE GLOBALLY ARE IN SERIOUS OR CRITICAL CONDITION DUE TO COVID-19 CHENNAI ■ MADURAI ■ VIJAYAWADA ■ BENGALURU ■ KOCHI ■ HYDERABAD ■ VISAKHAPATNAM ■ COIMBATORE ■ KOZHIKODE ■ THIRUVANANTHAPURAM ■ BELAGAVI ■ BHUBANESWAR ■ SHIVAMOGGA ■ MANGALURU ■ TIRUPATI ■ TIRUCHY ■ TIRUNELVELI ■ SAMBALPUR ■ HUBBALLI ■ DHARMAPURI ■ KOTTAYAM ■ KANNUR ■ VILLUPURAM ■ KOLLAM ■ WARANGAL ■ TADEPALLIGUDEM ■ NAGAPATTINAM ■ THRISSUR ■ KALABURAGI CHINA ATTACK KILLS 20 INDIAN SOLDIERS The Ladakh flashpoint PLA troops in full riot gear suddenly charged at Indian jawans on LAC; Colonel among those killed in action, many succumbed to injuries because of sub-zero temp; agencies claim China lost more soldiers than India 3 of the fatalities Ironically, the de-escalation process was underway in the Galwan Valley, where the face-off happened on the intervening night of Monday-Tuesday CHINA Siachen Glacier PAKISTAN Line of Control M AYA N K S I N G H & P U S H K A R B A N A K A R @ New Delhi IN what appears to be a dramatic meltdown of bilateral relationship, India and China on Tuesday blamed each other for the worst face-off in 45 years that left 20 Indian soldiers dead, including one officer, along the Line of Actual Control (LAC) in the Galwan area. A terse late night statement issued by the Army said: “Indian and Chinese troops have disengaged at the Galwan area where they had earlier clashed on the night of 15/16 June 2020. 17 Indian troops who were critically injured in the line of duty at the stand-off location and exposed to sub-zero temperatures in the high altitude terrain have succumbed to their injuries, taking the total that were killed in action to 20.” An earlier statement said, “The loss of lives on the Indian side includes an officer and two soldiers.” While Chinese foreign ministry spokesperson Zhao Lijian accused Indian troops of crossing the LAC twice, leading to a serious clash, Ministry of External Affairs spokesperson Anurag Srivastava said the faceoff was a result of China unilaterally trying to alter status quo. “Our border troops had a high-level meeting and reached important Col Santhosh Babu Line of Actual Control CLASH IN GALWAN VALLEY LADAKH Havildar Palani JAMMU & KASHMIR INDIA Sepoy Ojha E X P E RT TA K E Lt Gen (retd) D S Hooda BR Deepak, sinologist The situation is extremely grave. It could become more difficult to find a peaceful resolution. The future course will depend on the demands of the two sides and whether both are ready to reconcile Now that the balance of power in the region has tilted heavily in its favour, Beijing wants to force New Delhi to solve the dispute on its terms. But China comes to talks with conditions rarely acceptable to India FULL COVERAGE CHINA POLICY NEEDS OVERHAUL BIG-TIME The need of the hour is a complete overhaul of India’s policy on engaging with China, experts say. A former ambassador to China said on the condition of anonymity that India needs to enhance its political and diplomatic engagement. Debashis Chaudhari of the Institute of Chinese Studies said Prime Minister Narendra Modi should leverage his friendly relations with Chinese President Xi Jinping for a breakthrough in talks | P7 History repeats as Chinese ambushed Indian soldiers, killed four of them in 1975 The last clash between Indian and Chinese troops that led to casualties took place in 1975 An Indian patrol team of Assam Rifles personnel were killed in an ambush by Chinese troops in Tulung La in Arunachal Pradesh FIVE BORDER AGREEMENTS, YET TENSION ON India and China have at least five border agreements and other mechanisms aimed at defusing border tensions, but the pacts in themselves cannot address the issue if the Line of Actual Control is not clearly demarcated, as per Sinologist B R Deepak. The bilateral agreements and mechanisms date back to 1993, 1996, 2005, 2012, and 2013. Even a joint working group formed in the 1980s failed to reach a consensus on the border issue | P7 India alleged that the Chinese army crossed into Indian territory and attacked soldiers, lodged strong protest But China blamed India, claimed its army opened fire in ‘self-defence’ as a group of Indian soldiers crossed the LAC DELAY IN INDIAN ARMY STATEMENT? A US State Department cable backed the Indian version, said the ‘Chinese ambush was sprung 500 metres south of Tulung La’ on the Indian side China’s Global Times reported the killing of the soldiers much before the Indian Army issued a statement on it, possibly giving an edge to China in building a narrative. Former Army Chief General VP Malik said: “Clear message should have come from the political and diplomatic leadership.” He added that there was a delay in releasing India’s official version. “The Chinese are the aggressors then why are we allowing them to go away with the script” | P7 The Indian patrol had six jawans. Four of them died but two escaped as they were at the rear of the team Collectors wanted lockdown, says TN C S H I VA KU M A R & S I N DUJA JA N E @ Chennai ON a day when Tamil Nadu reported the highest single-day toll of 49, with 40 of them in the capital city a G.O. on Tues, day said the government’s decision to enforce the 12-day intense lockdown in Chennai, Kancheepuram, Tiruvallur and Chengalpattu was taken after concerns were raised by Collectors from other districts that people returning from these areas may have been spreading the coronavirus across the state. The city’s death toll, which stood at 422 on Tuesday, accounted for nearly 80 per cent of the Statewide count (528). The State also reported 1,515 fresh cases, of which 919 were from Chennai. The city’s tally is now 34,245, while the Statewide tally stands at 48,019. Explaining the rationale behind the lockdown from June 19-30, the order said the Collectors had, during a meeting with the Chief Secretary, K GREEN SHOOTS OF ECONOMIC RECOVERY VISIBLE: MODI Shanmugham, on June 12, sought restrictions on movements to and from Chennai, Kancheepuram, Tiruvallur and Chengalpattu to control the spread. Similarly, the order said, a review meeting with zonal teams and senior police officials in Greater Chennai Corporation had stressed the need for internal restrictions within the city limits, early detection and testing, effective contact tracing and efficient management of quarantine and containment areas. Cases were high in the four districts because of population density, close proximity of houses and smaller living spaces, the order said. Meanwhile, Health Minister C Vijayabaskar along with Health Secretary J Radhakrishnan and Director of Medical Education R Narayanababu visited the Rajiv Gandhi Government General Hospital, and discussed about increasing bed strength and admission procedure. NORMS EASED FOR MOVEMENT OF WORKERS IN BORDERING STATES Inter-state movement of workers and executives from TN engaged in industrial or economic activities across the borders of AP, Karnataka, Kerala and Puducherry will be permitted without the need for testing and quarantine if they return within 48 hours, according to a circular issued by Chief Secretary K Shanmugam to Collectors. However, any movement ‘to or from’ containment areas is prohibited and has to be done with consent of the district administrations of both the states. The e-governance agency shall arrange the passes for such persons. FRESH CASES TALLY DEATHS 1,515 48,019 49 TOLL 528 `1,000-AID FOR DIFFERENTLY ABLED CM Edappadi K Palaniswami on Tuesday announced that around 13.35 lakh differently abled persons in Tamil Nadu, who hold identity cards, would be given `1,000 as assistance in view of the lockdown extended till June 30. In another statement, he said Civil Supplies Department will disburse `1,000 to rice card holders at their doorstep from June 22 in districts being locked down for 12 days. E X P R E S S N E W S S E R V I C E @ New Delhi PRIME Minister Narendra Modi on Tuesday hailed the collective response of chief ministers to the Covid-19 pandemic, saying it showcased the best of cooperative federalismin the country. He also drew satisfaction from the green shoots in the economy and reiterated the importance of life and livelihood. “On the one hand, health infrastructure will need to be boosted with emphasis on testing and tracing. Economic activity will also need to be increased,” Modi told the chief ministers in his conP8 cluding remarks. consensus on easing the border situation but astonishingly on June 15 the Indian troops seriously violated our consensus and twice crossed the border line for illegal activities and provoked and attacked Chinese personnel, which led to serious physical conflict between the two sides and China has lodged strong protest and representation with the Indian side,” Zhao said. Later in the day a statement from , Srivastava said, “While it was our expectation that this (deescalation) would unfold smoothly, the Chinese side departed from the consensus to respect the LAC. On the late-evening and night of June 15 a violent face-off happened as a result of an attempt by the Chinese side to unilaterally change the status quo there. Both sides suffered casualties that could have been avoided had the agreement at the higher level been scrupulously followed by the Chinese side.” There were reports of Chinese fatalities, too, but the state establishment has not put a figure to it yet. However, Hu Xijin, the editor of the Global Times, the Communist Party’s mouthpiece, tweeted that there were Chinese casualities as well. Agencies in India put the Chinese troop toll at 43, but the figure could not be independently verified. On the Indian side, the casualties include a officer of the rank of Colonel, said to be the Commanding Officer of an Infantry Unit, a JCO and a jawan. The incident occurred when a large number of Chinese troops encircled Indian soldiers and beat them with rods and bamboos with nails on them. “The Chinese soldiers were in complete riot gear with helmets, shields and knee and elbow caps,” informed a source. Senior military officials of the two sides have been meeting at the venue to defuse the situation, the army added. The last violent clash between troops of the two countries was reported in Arunachal Pradesh in 1975. Later in the day Defence Minister , Rajnath Singh reviewed the situation along with the Chief of Defence Staff Bipin Rawat and the three service Chiefs and External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar. Rajnath and Jaishankar later briefed Prime Minister Narendra Modi over the phone, which was followed by a meeting between Modi and Home Minister Amit Shah. Going forward, defence experts expect greater bilateral tension. “I see this stand-off leading to greater tension if what the Chinese want is unacceptable to us. If the Chinese agree to return to the original position along the LAC, then the tension could ease. But, this time the Chinese don’t seem to be ready to vacate the areas,” Lt Gen (retd) D S Hooda said. Major General D K Mehta said, “The way China is cornered - and there is tremendous pressure on China from all around - this a tactic to whip up ultra-nationalism among the Chinese people who are suffering from the worst phase of their economy China is browbeating countries .” in the South China Sea and is worried about the growing significance of Taiwan in geopolitics. It also is trying to pressure India into not getting involved in the affairs of the World Health Organization, like the probe into the origin of the coronavirus and entry of Taiwan as an observer, added Maj Gen Mehta. Diplomatic experts called for an overhaul of Delhi’s policy on China. “It is high time India starts to look towards China through a different prism. By merely saying we are not the India of 1962, resolution of border differences will not happen. We need to act. We need to be cautious about our neighbour at all times and stand up to its aggression,” a former Indian Ambassador to China said.
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