Edit & Opinion

In India’s Opinion | The Dispatch on 1 June 2020

Every Monday to Saturday, The Dispatch brings to you a selection of Editorials from leading newspapers across the country.

Battle for Hong Kong

“As China, US and young protesters face off, Delhi must look at how its interests in Hong Kong are affected by new dynamic,” reads the editorial of Indian Express. It further reads, “As Hong Kong gets caught in the Cold War between China and America, India will have to pay close attention to the economic and strategic consequences of the current churn. The application of the principle of “one country, two systems” for Hong Kong when Britain restored it to China in 1997, after nearly 150 years of colonial control, seemed like a stroke of genius. Designed to satisfy the needs of the people of Hong Kong, Beijing and the Anglo-American powers, the special status of Hong Kong was to last until 2047. Half a century looked long enough for Hong Kong’s painless integration into China. But the compact has been under stress for many years,” read the full editorial here.


Sobering signals

“GDP data underlines economic challenge. Much will depend on easing of lockdown restrictions, success in containing virus,” reads the editorial of Indian Express. It further reads, ” he GDP data released by the National Statistical Office on Friday affirms three disconcerting trends. First, the economy had slowed down considerably, even before the national lockdown was imposed to contain the spread of the coronavirus. The revised data for the first three quarters of the previous financial year indicates that the slowdown was more pronounced than was previously believed. Second, the lockdown has made matters worse. And as the data on the eight core industries for April indicates, the economic distress is likely to be more severe than expected. Third, the headline growth number is being driven by only two sectors — agriculture and government,” read the full editorial here.


A new phase

“Unlock 1 is a welcome shift. But some features will continue to hamstring economic activity,” reads the editorial of the Times of India. It further reads, “The ‘Unlock 1’ guidelines which kick in today seem to signal a way out of the lockdown ones that went into effect on March 25. They indicate that we are moving back to normalcy incrementally, with the current month long phase geared towards expanding economic activities. This is a welcome development as the lockdown has already extracted an enormous socioeconomic cost. On the other hand, last month has illustrated the limitations of piecemeal restart of economic activity. Now the priority should be to restore normalcy at the earliest. A salient feature of Unlock 1 is that beginning next week parts of the hospitality industry, shopping malls and places of worship will reopen. All activity and gatherings will be subject to physical distancing and attendant health protocols. This is the right way to go about reopening the economy. The exception will be designated as containment zones. States have been given more latitude to earmark these zones, which makes sense as local governments are better placed to judge the ground situation,” read the full editorial here.


Opening up is the right decision

“The State must be more vigilant, citizens more responsible,” reads the editorial of Hindustan Times. It further reads, “After 68 days, India opens up today. While each phase of the lockdown was accompanied with a set of relaxations, the government’s decision to frame the period between June 1 and June 30 as Unlock 1.0 is symbolic. It represents a psychological leap. From being locked in and being prohibited to engage in a range of activities, Indian citizens will now be allowed to resume their everyday lives, with limited restrictions and while remaining careful. India went into a national lockdown when it had about 500 cases of coronavirus disease (Covid-19). As the country opens up, over 5,000 people have died of the disease, and the number of cases is steadily creeping up to 200,000. Opening up, then, may seem counter-intuitive. After all, with more cases, shouldn’t people stay home? But this view ignores both science and economics. It is clear that a majority of people who get infected are either asymptomatic, or have mild-to-moderate symptoms, and can recover with care and precautions,” reads the editorial of Hindustan Times.

Unquiet front: India-China standoff

“India, whatever its muscular government claims, must fall back on its tried-and-tested diplomatic arsenal,” reads the editorial of Telegraph . It further reads, ” The plot thickens. The president of the United States of America, Donald Trump, had expressed his desire to mediate between New Delhi and Beijing after whispers of a stand-off between India and China on the line of actual control got louder. Mr Trump had even suggested that the Indian prime minister — Narendra Modi had rolled out the proverbial red carpet when the US president visited India last — was unhappy over the developments, only for New Delhi to reiterate that no such conversation has taken place between the two premiers. This kind of confusion and opacity has also made it difficult to ascertain the nature of the confrontation that is said to have unfolded at not one but four points along the LAC. It is likely that the face-off is not an ordinary skirmish. A routine dispute is usually settled at the local level: it does not merit a meeting between the Union defence minister with the chief of defence staff for an assessment,” read the full editorial here.



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