Col Ashwani Sharma (Retd)


At a remote town called Bir in Himachal’s Kangra district, there’s an efficiently run Public Health Centre (PHC).

Dr Rajkumar, a highly motivated and competent physician leads a small team of medical assistants which runs the facility to provide medical care to the residents of Bir and adjoining areas. One look at BHC Bir inspires confidence and gives hope in a country slammed and exposed for its grossly inadequate and indifferent healthcare infrastructure. It stands out like an oasis in a desert.

Not for nothing does this PHC wins a number of awards every year. But that’s not the only reason why I decided to briefly mention PHC Bir and Dr Rajkumar. The unassuming doctor also gave me the most precise and accurate description of COVID19. “It is a pandemic, Sir. By definition it implies an infection out of control at a global scale. There’s really no cure for it, please protect yourself.” Having watched zillions of TV debates, read countless pieces on Social Media and in print on Covid 19, I thought this was the simplest and the best description and advice on the pandemic.

No one has been able to predict or explain Covid-19’s outbreak and mutating strains. Conspiracy theories abound with some indicators pointing towards Wuhan. Genetic coding of Covid 19 virus and its various strains raises a serious doubt about its evolution and spread as it is different from Corona viruses that have existed for centuries. There is strong evidence to suggest that it is engineered. WHO failed to stem its spread and its investigation appears perfunctory. This calls for global community to seek an independent investigation punitive action against the guilty.

Its spread has perplexed most and ruined reputations of those who dared prophesise. Wuhan suffered, the West lead by the US, UK, Italy and France suffered; Europe Africa, Americas, they all have their sorry tales to tell. But the most intriguing is India’s story. Having overcome the first wave rather well, speeding towards normalcy and recovery, India’s surprise march to victory over Covid was halted by a ferocious tsunami of second wave. Sometime around the last week of March 2021 the cases increased exponentially testing India’s administrative machinery and response mechanism to a medical emergency. India’s medical infrastructure is in any case woefully inadequate which the pandemic exposed ruthlessly. The only arena where we performed rather well was the political landscape, and the mudslinging is yet to stop.

Last year our March April issue was devoted to Covid19. We predicted a long haul and advocated that young India should fight it out while the rest of the world hunkered down. Economic, psychological and geostrategic impact of this scourge will prove to be as deadly as the virus. India needs to deal with the after effects as much as the disease itself. It is time for us to come shoulder to shoulder, move the wheels and defeat the monster.

Our cover feature covers the topic in great detail.

As always, there are many other features on geostrategy, military affairs and military technology to give the readers a multifaceted interesting issue.