Hafta 282: India-China conflict, Patanjali’s Coronil, Jagannath Rath Yatra, and more

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In this edition of Hafta, Newslaundry’s Abhinandan Sekhri, Manisha Pande, Mehraj D Lone and Raman Kirpal are joined by Ajai Shukla, a defence journalist, former colonel of the Indian army, and current consulting editor at Business Standard. The panel discusses the developments in and the broader implications of the India-China border flare-up, Patanjali’s Coronil debacle, and the Jagannath Rath Yatra.


Ajai explains the chronology of events from April onward at the border. He says Chinese soldiers “marched into three different sectors of India and occupied a chunk of Indian territory”, measuring about 60 sq km, where they started building defences. Initial reports were either ignored or dismissed by official sources until 20 Indian soldiers were killed, he adds.


The panel discusses why this episode is unique, why the government might have denied these reports, the reasons for China’s new aggression, and how this incident might affect the balance of power between India and China. “There is absolutely every prospect that China might do something to activate the Arunachal border,” Ajai says.


The conversation shifts to the Supreme Court allowing the Jagannath Rath Yatra to take place in Puri. The panel talks about how the state government and public health experts should have made this decision, not the court.


In the context of how Patanjali used its licence to manufacture immunity boosters to promote “Coronil” as a cure for Covid-19, Manisha says questioning Ramdev has been equated to questioning ayurveda itself. Mehraj details the bogus testing methods that Patanjali followed.


The conversation also spans the complexity of calls to boycott Chinese products, the development of indigenous industrial capacity, whether there is a global resurgence of socialism, Delhi’s coronavirus mathematics, and much more.


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