By Shaikh Moazam Khan
The outbreak of Covid-19 pandemic has jolted entire political and economic spectrum of the world. It has brought the global economic growth at standstill. Entire world is struggling to fight with the post-pandemic environment of the world. Luckily, Pakistan is among few countries of the world who have successfully defeated the pandemic. The life in the country is getting back to normal. However, in Pakistan’s neighbor, India is severely affected with the outbreak of pandemic. With average 90,000 cases on daily basis in last few weeks, India has become the world’s second worst affected countries after the United States. The political leadership in India, despite fighting with the pandemic, is involved in political and strategic gains. Despite fighting with the pandemic, Indian government has triggered border skirmishes with Pakistan and China at the same time on both borders.
Indian political elite is giving least priority to the economic sector. Their top most priority is to strengthen its military muscles and get more sophisticated technology. Due to which, Indian economy on the brink of collapse. Miffed with the policies of Indian government, the opposition parties in India are severely criticizing Modi government over its policies towards the economic sector. They criticized Modi for imposing lockdown without proper planning and deliberation.
The lockdown in India left tens of thousands of people strained and unemployed in different states of the country. Hundreds of people were killed during their way back to home due to the unavailability of basic facilities to them. The lockdown has created human catastrophe in the country. Unfortunately, it didn’t work out and Modi decided to go ahead with strict lockdown across the country.
Now, after imposing stringent measures to contain the spread of coronavirus, the economic damage was caused by the lockdown now has the fastest growing Covid-19 crisis, with more than 80,000 new infections reported each day. More than thousand people are dying every day in India. Meanwhile, contrary to the ground realities, Indian Prime Minister Modi is claiming victory by saying that the country is defeating Covid-19. But the truth is that daily record cases are being reported across the country, which is clear indication of Modi government’s failed policies to contain the spread of Covid-19. Similarly, the leaders of Modi’s ruling nationalist party BJP are blindly following the narrative Prime Minister Modi over this issue.
In a recent episode of his weekly radio show “Man Ki Baat” in which Modi addressed his nation, the Prime Minister acknowledged that India is fighting on many fronts. He urged Indians to maintain social distancing, wear masks and keep hale and hearty. But damage has done already. India has failed to contain the spread of Covid-19 due to the failed and imaginary policies of Indian government.
Former Indian chief economist at World Bank Kaushik Basu argued that New Delhi’s embarrassing slowdown in the second quarter of 2020 is almost entirely because of the nature of the lockdown, which Modi government imposed nationwide without consulting states and other stakeholders. He further maintained that this may have been worth it if it arrested the pandemic. He called the approach “lockdown-and-scatter” and said Modi’s policies had been a failure. Not just Mr. Basu, all major policy makers in India are criticizing Indian government for imposing lockdown in a hurry and without consulting other stakeholders.
Likewise, there are no signs of recovery in India. The battle against Covid-19 pandemic is far from over. But the virus and the economy are intertwined, and India’s virus graph is a steady staircase, going up. India is also No. 3 in virus deaths, though its per capita death rate is much lower.
Now with record cases on daily basis and being second worst countries of the world, India needs to change its policies and redefined its priorities. Instead of pursuing warmongering approach, Indian government needs to get help from other countries who have defeated the virus successfully such as China and Pakistan. The cooperation with these countries is in the favor of entire region and India itself. By taking aggressive approach at borders with Pakistan and China, India cannot overcome the damage which is inflicted upon the country due to Covid-19 pandemic.
The policymakers in India must sit together and reconsidered their warmongering and offensive approach. They should fight with the pandemic first otherwise it has long term consequences for Indian masses and government. Premier Modi will have to realize the long-term consequences of the pandemic. Prime Minister of Pakistan Mr. Imran Khan has offered its help to India many times. Indian government must reciprocate with sincerity.