1. What is Endemic Stage of a Pandemic, & How Far is India from Getting There?
What does endemic stage mean?
- An infection becomes endemic when the rates become static in a given geographical location, meaning that the pathogen causing the disease — SARS-CoV-2 in this case — is likely to remain in circulation without causing large outbreaks.
- It depends on the number of susceptible people in the population, vaccination rates, and emergence of new variants that are able to evade the immune response.
- Endemic means that the virus will continue circulating in the population and there will be periodic ups and downs when the conditions are favourable to the virus and less favourable to humans.
- If a representative sero-survey shows over 90% positivity, we can assume that it has reached an endemic stage.
- A disease can be endemic and both widespread and deadly. EG: Malaria killed more than 600,000 people in 2020.
- There can still be disruptive waves from endemic infections, as seen with the US measles outbreak in 2019.
How will control measures change if the disease becomes endemic?
- There is a need to maintain high levels of testing and good genomic surveillance.
The best way to find new variants are:
- conduct a general survey; sequence probably 1% or 2% of the positive cases.
- wherever there are more cases from an area, we should sequence
- need to keep a very close eye on hospitalised cases.
- A concern with officially declaring Covid-19 endemic would be fewer resources being made available for measures such as vaccination.
2. Use International Law, Call out China’s Violations
In the recent foreign affairs meeting of Quad, India’s External Affairs minister said that the situation at the India-China Line of Actual Control (LAC) has arisen due to the “disregard” by China of written agreements.
What is the base of India-China agreements?
- 1993 Agreement: It said that neither side shall use nor threaten to use force against the other by any means. It further enunciates that the India-China boundary question shall be resolved through peaceful and friendly consultations.
- 1936 Agreement: Article I of this agreement talks of confidence-building measures between the two sides and prohibits the use of military capability against the other side.
- 2005 and 2013 agreements: The prohibition on the use of force is also enshrined in Article I and Article VIII of these agreements.
- United Nations (UN) Charter: The cardinal rule of international law codified in Article 2(4) of the United Nations (UN) Charter prohibits states from using force.
Exceptions to this rule:
- Self Defence: Article 51 permits the use of force for self Defence.
- Authorisation of UN Security Council: Chapter VII of the Charter allows the use of force after obtaining the authorisation of the UN Security Council.
What are the violations done by China against India?
- There are reports of a huge military build-up by China with heavy weaponry including missiles in the Eastern Ladakh Sector.
- China has backed these transgressions by other developments such as implementing a new border law that renames several places in Arunachal Pradesh and aims to set up boundary markers on all its land borders.
- In 2016, China denounced a decree by an arbitration tribunal under the aegis of the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS).
- The tribunal ruled in favour of Philippines, in a maritime dispute between the two sides in the South China Sea.
- Violation of Nuclear Non-proliferation Treaty: China secretly violates the treaty by providing nuclear technology to its allies, often through proxies.
The way forward for India:
- India in the recent Quad meeting, rather than calling Chinese aggression along LAC as a mere “disregard”, it must have highlighted the blatant violation of international law as part of a larger game of Chinese expansionism.
- India should make a strong legal case by highlighting China’s violations of all International Treaties, including the UN Charter and customary international law, at every forum to call out China’s illegal actions.
- India should make an unequivocal proclamation at all international platforms that India reserves the right to act in self-defence under Article 51 of the UN Charter to counter any Chinese misadventure.
- India’s Lawfare: India can enact a ‘national security law ‘ that aimed at imposing restrictions or sanctions of various kinds (trade, economic, military) on those countries with whom India shares a land border.
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