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Wednesday, Sep 09, 2020 14:30 [IST]

Last Update: Wednesday, Sep 09, 2020 08:55 [IST]

Gloomy days ahead

India grabbed the headline for two major achievements this week: one for successfully testing a hypersonic missile and the other, for becoming the country with second highest number of Covid cases in the world.
First, the hypersonic missile which has been termed as a “historic mission’.  India on Monday successfully flight-tested a Hypersonic Technology Demonstrator Vehicle (HSTDV) from APJ Abdul Kalam testing range (Wheeler Island) in Balasore, Odisha. This technology has been developed by Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO). With the successful launch, the organisation has demonstrated capabilities for highly complex technology that will serve as the building block for NextGen Hypersonic vehicles in partnership with industry, DRDO said. The launch has been termed “a giant leap in indigenous defence technologies and significant milestone towards a #sashaktbharat and #atmanirbharbharat."

Definitely, this mission successfully showcases India’s resolute and unwavering efforts towards strengthening the nation’s defence capabilities. With India loggerheads with China once again, this should definitely boost the morale of the nation, and especially the armed forces.

And yet, we earn another dubious distinction. And this does not call for a pat on our backs. India has surpassed Brazil to become the country with the second highest number of coronavirus cases, as the virus continues to spread through the country of 1.3 billion at the fastest rate of anywhere in the world. India recorded more than 90,000 cases overnight, bringing the number of infections in the country past 4.2 million and overtaking Brazil, which with 4.1 million cases had been the second worst-affected country for several months.

India now only lags behind the United States, which has had 6.2 million cases so far. However, while cases in the US have begun to level off, the rate of infection in India is worsening by the day, with no signs of when it will hit the peak, and experts are predicting the south Asian country will soon tally the most cases in the world. The death toll stands at 71,000, equating to 50 deaths per million, which is relatively low compared with the US and Brazil but is still rising at around 1,000 a day.

India is now carrying out more than 1 million tests a day, but per capita the testing levels still remain very low. Concerns have also been raised over the accuracy of the tests, as over half were rapid antigen test, which have a far higher percentage of false negatives. The steep climb in infections also coincided with the country almost completing its reopening after months of lockdown and restrictions, which doctors said they feared was leading to a culture of complacency around the virus just as the situation was at its worst.

We are now grappling with rising coronavirus figures amid both a security crisis on our border with China and an economy that lies in tatters. We are also having to deal with the economy shrinking by almost 24% over the last quarter, the greatest recession it has suffered since records began in 1996. Little to rejoice given these circumstances.

Sikkim at a Glance

  • Area: 7096 Sq Kms
  • Capital: Gangtok
  • Altitude: 5,840 ft
  • Population: 6.10 Lakhs
  • Topography: Hilly terrain elevation from 600 to over 28,509 ft above sea level
  • Climate:
  • Summer: Min- 13°C - Max 21°C
  • Winter: Min- 0.48°C - Max 13°C
  • Rainfall: 325 cms per annum
  • Language Spoken: Nepali, Bhutia, Lepcha, Tibetan, English, Hindi