When the country is locked in a battle with COVID-19, former Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Kamal Nath on Sunday, 12 April 2020, made a futile bid to take political mileage by going tongs and hammers against the BJP and Prime Minister Narendra Modi alleging that the nationwide lockdown to combat COVID-19 had been timed to ensure his government’s falls in Madhya Pradesh with the help of more than a dozen-and-half ruling party MLAs, who according to him, “were flown to Bengaluru in private jets paid for by the BJP, kept in a resort guarded by the Karnataka Police and were incentivised to cross-over to the BJP”.
The BJP has described as baseless and rubbished Kamal Nath’s accusation that the announcement of a 21-day nation-wide lockdown by the PM on 24 March was timed to overthrow the Kamal Nath Government.
Speaking live through video conferencing (a footage widely televised on Sunday) Kamal Nath appeared flustered and used a language that no cultured person would ever use when speaking about the State Governor (“Rajyapal floor test ki baat kar raha tha” – watch from 3.14 mts). He sounded less rustic and more frustrated as he conjecturally concluded and equated his own downfall and waterloo with the timing of the lockdown. He said they were waiting for the exit of a democratically elected government, swearing-in of Shivraj Singh Chouhan as Chief Minister on 23 March before clamping the lockdown.
In his video conference, Kamal Nath also lost track of dates and said that he had resigned on 16 March (watch video from1.06 mts and once again at 2.43 mts), whereas in fact he had quit office 4 days later, on 20 March, without facing a trial of strength in the Assembly on Supreme Court’s orders. This was after he had avoided a floor test on 16 March – the opening day of the Budget Session.
Kamal Nath’s allegation is obviously warped, twisted and politically motivated. He appears bent upon spreading misinformation since the Prime Minister, in his televised message to the people of India on March 19, had warned about the Coronavirus pandemic by making an appeal and telling the elderly, senior citizens and those above 65 years of age “not to leave homes for the next few weeks”. He had also announced that on Sunday 22 March, all citizens must abide by a people’s curfew from 7 AM until 9 PM. During this curfew, they were neither to leave their homes, nor get onto the streets or roam about their localities. Only those associated with emergency and essential services were told to leave their homes. Modi had also underscored that complacency in respect of a global pandemic like Corona was not appropriate. Therefore, it was essential that each and every Indian remained alert and cautious.
Bhopal: Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan has emphasised the need for social distancing and underscored the importance of immediate testing on noticing even symptoms of Corona in the initial stages.
Now Bhopal will have a total lockdown from tonight (12 midnight onwards). This after a couple of senior bureaucrats have tested COVID-19 +positive. Questions are being raised why these officers had maintained secrecy about their foreign visit, if any, or coming in close contact with suspected coronavirus cases. It is also being asked why instead of self- quarantine, they were attending high-powered meetings, thereby jeopardising the life of others even after coronavirus outbreak has been labelled a pandemic by the World Health Organization (WHO)
The Chief Minister has issued instructions that Ayurvedic, Homeopathic and Unani medicines should be distributed free of cost in rural and urban areas to increase immunity.
The Chief Minister was reviewing COVID 19 related situation and arrangements to combat the crisis through video conferencing on Saturday 4 April.
Adequate arrangement of Corona testing
State Chief Secretary Iqbal Singh Bains informed during the video conference that adequate Corona testing kits are available in Madhya Pradesh. Currently we have 20,000 I.T.P.C.Rs. The testing capacity in the State is 500 tests per day in 6 labs.
The Chief Secretary informed that currently 13,895 persons have been placed in home quarantine and 400 persons have been quarantined separately in the state.
The Chief Minister directed that this capacity is to be increased to 1,000 tests per day in 14 labs. At present there are 29,795 PPE kits in the state and the state government is in a position to distribute 5000 PPE kits daily. These kits are being delivered to the divisional headquarters. The number of hydro chloroquine tablets is 2 lakh 25,000. While 10 lakh tablets will be available in the next four days. Till Saturday, there were 1.14 lakh N-95 masks available with the government and 50,000 of these were being distributed immediatelyd. also 3,324 oxygen cylinders were available, and orders for 1,000 more have been placed.
Ensure arrangements in new identified areas
The Chief Minister directed that all arrangements should be made in newly identified cities with COVID +ve cases like Morena, Chhindwara and Khargone. The Chief Minister said that apart from Health Department, employees of other departments, who are directly involved in Corona work, should also be given PPE kits. The Chief Minister directed that patients who have been found positive should be provided with the best treatment.
Food for migrant workers
The Chief Minister directed that there should be proper arrangement to provude food and other essential items to the migrant workers returning to the state from other States and those trapped in different regions of the state. It was informed that about 5 lakh labourers have returned to the State from outside. Of these, 13,750 labourers have gone through health examination. The workers returning from outside the state are being tested at the check post with Thermal Scanners and by Rapid Response Teams.
Strict action against mischievous elements
The Chief Minister said that it should be ensured that peace and order is maintained in all the districts. Strict action must be taken against mischievous elements. Meetings of religious leaders and social organizations have been organized at the district and police station level. The situation is peaceful in all the districts. The Chief Minister directed that the staff engaged in Corona duty should be taken care of. Transportation arrangements also should be made for nurses on duty.
The Chief Minister directed that the Gareeb Kalyan package of the Prime Minister should be properly implemented. The state government has credited money directly into the beneficiaries’ bank accounts.
Private hospitals must not refuse general treatment
The Chief Minister directed that patients visiting government hospitals for general ailments should not face any inconvenience. The Chief Minister directed that private hospitals should not refuse treatment for common ailments, otherwise action will be taken against them. Students who have become medical graduates will also be able to offer their services in local government hospitals.
Prompt resolution of complaints
Commissioner Public Relations P. Narhari said that 6,700 comments were received on the Chief Minister’s Twitter and Facebook account recently and all have been answered. Principal Secretary Food and Civil Supplies Shiv Shekhar Shukla informed that 1755 complaints were received on Food Helpline recently. Briefing further, he said that food has been distributed to 4.28 lakh persons and ration to 56,500 persons.
Masks, sanitizer should not be sold in the black market
The Chief Minister directed that the rates of masks, sanitizers and food items have been fixed by the government, they should not be sold in the black marketed. Secretary Ayush Dr. M.K. Agarwal informed that Ayurvedic, Homeopathy and Unani medicines have been distributed free of cost to 1.64 lakhpersons in rural areas and 35000 persons in urban areas.
Even as this paper is being written, the worldwide coronavirus cases have crossed 7,20,00 and the deaths crossing 33000. This pandemic is likely to have far reaching geo-economic impact that could have a major bearing on the evolving global order, unless the rest of the world comes together to make China pay for its role in creating this pandemic.
China would claim, with tacit support from the ‘compromised(?)’ WHO that it was more a victim and it was its actions that prevented larger impact. Whether its actions were indeed timely, as claimed by WHO or otherwise is open to question. However, China seems to have unleashed its ‘Three Warfares’ Strategy, part of its ‘Unrestricted Warfare (URW)’ very early to contain and deflect negative attention.
Three Warfares Strategy
This strategy, which is a part of URW, was formalized as part of CCP and PLA as far back as 2003 when it was incorporated in the Political Works Regulation. Information, Psychological and Legal Warfare forms the three-pronged thrust for ‘Influence Operations’ as part of this strategy. China has been honing its skills and seems to have now achieved some proficiency. It has also created an effective cyber and internet control to deflect the negative perceptions.
Consider a simple term now being (mis)used – epicentre. As per the Cambridge Dictionary an epicentre is the ground zero of a major catastrophe. It is implicit that for any such event – like Wuhan COVID 19 pandemic, there can only be one ground zero – WUHAN. Yet it is disheartening to hear CGTN, CNN, BBC, WHO et al talk of new ‘epicentre’ in Europe and that it is shifting to USA??? What is meant is new ‘Hot Spots’; yet by using this term so loosely it deflects attention from China – the main culprit.
By shifting goalposts on patient zero and deleting posts from internet that indicate otherwise China is covering up for its gross negligence (or was it a planned ‘negligence’?). In early January 2020, reports had emerged that it was in mid-November 2019 that doctors in Wuhan and detected that there was an epidemic emerging. Yet now China appears to create a narrative that patient Zero was detected in mid-November. The spread of the pandemic to Iran, Italy and other countries belies this logic. The linkages with North Italy’s garment industry, Italy’s joining the BRI, with projects all being in North Italy, and the start of this pandemic in North Italy suggest that China has much to hide. Similarly, Iran had sent a high level delegation to China in October 2019, and had been having these exchanges since August 2019. It is no small wonder then that Qom, where many Chinese backed projects are functioning, was the origin of this epidemic in Iran.
Yet these narratives are being overcome by the new articles and opinion pieces that show China in a positive light. The WHO seems to be leading this crusade. If SARS in Middle East can be named MERS, if a bacterium detected in Sweden in an Indian origin patient be named NDM-1, why has China not been named in either SARS or H1N1 or COVID-19? What makes China so special?
China is playing a marathon, to paraphrase Michael Pillsbury, while the rest are unaware of it. Fifty years down the line, while the Middle East and New Delhi would be remembered for these epidemics, no one may remember that the SARS, H1N1 and COVID-19 occurred due to gross negligence by China. That is how China aims to clean its slate of all such activities.
Natural or Manmade
Many researchers are putting out their opinions that the mutation of normal coronavirus with SARS to create this virulent novel-coronavirus has occurred naturally. Be that as it may, they have not provided any counter evidence to the fact that this could also have been manmade. While this maybe difficult to prove, considering the acute censorship of information emanating from China, yet there are some ‘circumstantial evidence’ emanating that all was not well in the Wuhan Institute of Virology.
In January Maj Gen Chen Wei, China’s top military bio-warfare expert, was appointed as the head of this Wuhan Lab, sparking conspiracy theories that the coronavirus outbreak was linked to this lab. The jury is still out on this, the appointment of a PLA general to control the lab does raise suspicions. There had been rumours that an infected animal (or animals) was sold in this seafood market leading to this contagion.
On 26 January 2020 China unveiled its 8 member Leading Small Group to counter this epidemic, after obfuscating and denying the existence of this disease. The composition raised eyebrows as many amongst the group had spent their life in furthering CCP’s propaganda. It seems that the aim, apart from limiting the already widespread damage that this epidemic had caused, was to contain the damage to China’s International image. And it seems to be succeeding to some extent.
To grasp the damage that this would have done to China itself, it is important to understand the key location of Wuhan. It is a major transportation and logistics hub and has served as China’s capital twice earlier – in 1927 under the left wing of Kuomintang, and for ten months as the wartime capital in 1937 during the second Sino-Japanese War. It is one of the nine political, financial, commercial, cultural and educational centres of Han Heartland. It is for this reason that when Xi Jinping created the Joint Logistics Support Force (JLSF), during the ongoing reorganization and restructuring of the PLA since December 2015, it was HQ in Wuhan.
It is unlikely that Xi Jinping would not have grasped the extent of damage that this contagion would do to China. However, unlike during the SARS outbreak in November 2002, when China preferred to hide the contagion till February 2003, it was not networked deeply in the globalized world. At that time, it may have wanted to cover up this epidemic fearing for the economic backlash that would have occurred if the foreign companies had moved their bases out to other emerging economies in the region. The CCP would not have survived such an economic disaster.
However, with its extensive economic network (including its vast BRI network) with the rest of the world, it appears that Xi Jinping took a calculated risk to keep the lid on this epidemic till as late as feasible. He seems to have calculated that when the rest of the world would be struggling to cope with this epidemic and face economic lock downs China would step in and capture new markets. Is he playing with fire? Has China recovered? There have been disturbing reports that even as the epidemic was uncontrolled, China had shifted over 80000 Uyghurs from the concentration camps in Xin Jiang to factories in Han Heartland to restart factories. How many more have been sent since then?
These do indicate towards a manmade strategy for creating this pandemic, which has either created this epidemic, or utilized the epidemic to evolve into a pandemic through its land and sea corridors of BRI and the global supply chains, plus its vast tourist outreach.
China has been a regular defaulter in such epidemics, SARS in 2002 and H1N1in 2009 being the previous cases. In the words of Ian Fleming (Gold Finger, 1959) ‘Once is happenstance, twice is coincidence but a third time Sir is enemy action’. This is where China is at, a third will full obfuscation leading to such a vast pandemic. It needs to be called out and be made to pay so heavily that future generations would think multiple times before such will full acts.
China should be taken to the International Court of Justice (ICJ) on charges of will full genocide through this pandemic and CCP leadership be held guilty on all counts. If it fails to accept it, China should be considered an outcast and be removed from the UN and all International Institutions. Also, all countries and MNCs should disassociate from all China led ‘shadow organisations’. Concurrently China should be forced to cover the economic losses that would be incurred by the rest of the World due to it.
*First Published by The United Service Institution of India – USI
Maj Gen. Rajiv Narayanan, is recognised globally as an expert on China. With 37 years of experience and established leadership qualities across the career span with the Indian Army, he has been responsible for policy formulation for strategic and operational preparedness, resource optimization based on periodic SWOT & PESTLE analysis and Force Structuring, modernization plans of Weapons and Equipment including prioritisation. He is an expert in terms of Strategic Financial Analysis over the entire breadth of operations; Planning & Forecasting, Human Resource & Resource Planning, Logistics and Equipment Management, Corporate Communications, Knowledge Management ,and Financial Analysis and Planning. He has been awarded Ati Vishishta Seva Medal (AVSM) for outstanding contribution. In his capacity as Executive Director Military Operations Ministry of Defence, he has played a key role in Strategic Force structure, equipment upgrade and modernisation, and strategic financial planning.
 Strategic Partnership with China Lies at the Root of Iracounter this epidemic, after obfuscating and down playingn’s Coronavirus Outbreak, Benoit Faucon, Sune Engel Rasmussen and Jeremy Page, 11 March 2020, Wall Street Journal
 The Hundred Year Marathon: China’s Strategy to replace America as the Global Super Power, Michael Pillsbury, St. Martin’s Griffin; Reprint edition 15 March 2016
Bhopal: The presence of a particular journalist at the press conference of Kamal Nath just before he submitted his resignation as chief minister on 20 March has sent state authorities and the press fraternity in the state capital in a spin as both the journalist concerned and his daughter, who has returned recently from London after completing her post-graduation in Law, have tested positive for COVID19.
The media-persons present at Nath’s press conference, who shook hands or were in close proximity of the journalist in question, and also those with whom they later mingled with, including their family members, have been advised to quarantine themselves. Those among them having symptoms of sour throat, fever and body ache have also been told to seek medical attention without wasting any time.
This journalist, who is guilty of evading Coronavirus related guidelines that were already in public domain, was also in the State Assembly the same day where he was seen mingling with many journalists. Near the entrance to the press gallery, he was greeted with a “Namaste” by Newsroom24x7 Editor-in-Chief Lalit Shastri, who withdrew a few steps and had even asked him to maintain a safe distance when he tried to come rather too close, give a hug and shake hands. This when Shastri had no inkling that his daughter had just returned from England.
There was a large presence of media persons at the Assembly on 20 March. They were there to attend the special session convened on orders of the Supreme Court to hold a floor test for Kamal Nath to prove his majority. The trial of strength never took place as Nath had chosen to resign.
The brother of this journalist is a high profile State Congress unit General Secretary and is also the party spokesman.