At least one person has died and 200 others are in hospital in India due to a mystery illness. The first cases were detected on Saturday evening in the ancient city of Eluru, in the state of Andhra Pradesh. Patients are suffering from symptoms ranging from nausea and anxiety to seizures, convulsions and loss of consciousness, doctors said, but they have tested negative for COVID-19.
The United States and India have reaffirmed their defensive and security relationship, as Washington continues to rally allies in Asia amid concerns over increased Chinese military activity in the region. During a press conference Tuesday in the Indian capital, US Secretary of Defense Mark Esper and his Indian counterpart Rajnath Singh announced the signing of the Basic Exchange and Cooperation Agreement (BECA), enabling greater information-sharing and further defense cooperation between the two countries.
Indian police imposed emergency laws on Thursday in a village where a Dalit woman was allegedly raped and killed, barring gatherings of more than five people after clashes erupted following her cremation. Opposition leaders Rahul Gandhi and Priyanka Gandhi Vadra, who were on the way to Hathras district to meet the victim’s family, were detained by the police.
Human rights watchdog Amnesty International said Tuesday that it was halting its operation in India, citing reprisals from the government and the freezing of its bank accounts by Indian authorities. Amnesty International India said in a statement that the organization had laid off its staff in India and paused its ongoing campaign and research work on human rights.
India and China have agreed to “quickly disengage” from a standoff that has seen gunfire at a disputed border and accusations of kidnapping. Their foreign ministers met on Thursday and said they would ease tensions. Soldiers from both countries have periodically skirmished along the poorly demarcated border, called the Line of Actual Control. Both sides have accused each other of straying into their territory.
China has accused Indian troops of illegally crossing a disputed Himalayan border and firing “provocative” warning shots at patrolling soldiers. China’s military said its soldiers were “forced to take countermeasures”, though it is not clear what they were. India rejected the allegations and accused Chinese troops of firing in the air during the face-off in the high-altitude Ladakh region.
China’s government has accused Indian troops of illegally trespassing onto Chinese territory, in comments that could set the stage for a second tense border standoff between the two nuclear powers in just three months. In a statement Tuesday, a spokesperson for the Chinese Embassy in India said that Indian forces had “conducted flagrant provocations” over the weekend “which again stirred tension in the border areas.”
Three people have died in the Indian city of Bangalore after police fired on crowds protesting against an allegedly blasphemous Facebook post. Crowds gathered outside the house of a local politician whose relative was accused of making an “offensive” post about the Prophet Muhammad. The violence started after protesters massed outside the politician’s house as well as a police station after spotting the post.
India has recorded more than 2 million total coronavirus cases, only three weeks after announcing it had hit 1 million confirmed infections, as the country’s healthcare systems buckle under the pressure of the escalating pandemic. The rising caseload sees India become only the third country to report more than 2 million cases, behind the United States — which has seen nearly 4.9 million cases — and Brazil, which has recorded more than 2.9 million.
Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi laid the foundation stone Wednesday for a Hindu temple on a contentious site where a 16th century mosque once stood, a historic move that meets a decades-long political promise as the pandemic slams the economy. India’s Supreme Court in November handed over ownership of the area to Hindus after decades of bitter dispute highlighted by deadly riots in the 1990s.