‘Indian defence minister’s infection indicates greater COVID-19 impact among troops’

Beijing, January 11 (KMS): The infection of a high-level official like Indian Defence Minister indicated that the new wave of COVID-19 epidemic has brought huge impact on its people as well as among the troops, says Chinese expert, Qian Feng.

Qian Feng, Director of the Research Department at the National Strategy Institute at Tsinghua University told the Global Times that it would weigh on the psychological pressures of Indian soldiers at the border stand-off (with China), as there would be less personnel shifts to avoid virus spread.

The Indian defence minister, Rajnath Singh, tested positive for COVID-19. “I have tested positive for corona today with mild symptoms. I am under home quarantine. I request everyone who have recently come in my contact to isolate themselves and get tested,” Rajnath tweeted on Monday afternoon, two days before China and India were scheduled to hold the 14th round of military talks on Wednesday.

As per news reports, India’s top government sources said that “60,000 fully armed Indian troops were spending a second winter in the freezing heights of eastern Ladakh.” The sources added that the situation on the ground was uncertain and “anything can happen”.

“The rate of infection in the Indian military will be significant despite their preventive measures, as all levels of military officers are not isolated,” said Qian Feng. The infection of Singh, however, would not affect much of the upcoming corps commander talks between the two sides, as China would take effective preventive measures in full swing, he added.

As per the media reports, the surge is being driven by the rampaging Omicron variant and the continued prevalence of the Delta variant across the country, the Indian Health Ministry said.

On Sunday, the Indian news agency ANI reported that 402 staff members out of the 1,409 employees of Parliament tested positive for COVID-19 right ahead of the budget session of the parliament being held from Tuesday to Saturday. Several employees of both houses of parliament were put in isolation after they came into contact with their infected colleagues during work.

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