LETTERS TO THE EDITOR (22-01/2021)

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Safety  Of COVID Vaccine Is Suspect

BOTH manufacturers of COVID-19 vaccines  ‘Covishield’ and ‘Covaxin’ –  Serum Institute of India  and Bharat Biotech International Ltd respectively  – have advised people against getting vaccinated, if they are allergic to several factors which include ingredients of the dose or those who are on blood thinners, bleeding disorders and other health-related issues. How is the common man expected to know which are the ingredients in the dose that trigger allergies and a host of side effects that are alarming and life threatening? The manufacturers have undoubtedly played safe by warning people against side effects, but the list of such adverse reactions is too serious to ignore, considering the number of people who have died  worldwide after getting vaccinated. Lately, around 23 people died in Norway after the first dose, a Portuguese nurse died two  days after being vaccinated, and now it has been reported that more than 12,000 people in Israel have tested COVID positive after the first dose of the vaccine. Clinical trials are still on in laboratories to prove the efficacy of these  doses. So, in such a frightening and uncertain scenario, the overall feeling is that it would be better to play safe and refrain from being vaccinated, till the situation is under control.

A F NAZARETH, ALTO PORVORIM 

Cricket Upstarts Win The Day

Much has been – and will continue to be – written about how India went on to script one of the most sensational comebacks in international Test cricket history to clinch a resounding 2-1 series victory Down Under. This historic win will long be remembered by the connoisseurs of the game not as much for the individual performances and the records that tumbled along the way, as it will be for the determined show put up by a band of cricketing rookies who made the impossible come true through a rare exhibition of sheer grit and mental toughness that only seemed to improve with every outing. Shrugging off the morale-shattering defeat in the first Test to cruise through to a comfortable and convincing win in the second Test, India managed to valiantly battle out a draw in the third before pulling off the sensational win at the Gabba. But it needs to be said that if Douglas Jardine’s English team has been much maligned for using the ‘Bodyline’ bowling to intimidate and unsettle the Australian batsmen in the infamous series of 1932-33 Down Under, the current 11 under Tim Paine fared no better – and that too on its home turf! Using tactics more-or-less similar to the one devised by the visiting English side then, the current Australian team came across as a side that lacked the sporting spirit to uphold gentlemanly traditions that the game is known for.

PACHU MENON, MARGAO

Giving New Teeth To IAF

IN a landmark decision, India’s cabinet committee on security approved a much-awaited Rs 48,000-crore proposal to buy  83  advanced  Tejas  jets  from  Hindustan  Aeronautics  Ltd  to  bolster  the  Indian  Air  Force’s  combat  potential.  The  first  batch  is  expected  to  join  the  IAF  in  2023-24.  The  technology  applied  in  Light  Combat  Aircraft  will  definitely  boost  IAF’s   combat   potential  and  may  become  the  workhorse  of  the  future  for  IAF.    MiG-21s  of  Russian  manufacture  have  been  phased  out,  and Tejas  jets  will  fill  the  gap  left  by  them.  If  optimum  efficiency  is  achieved  in  the  production  of  the   Tejas  Mk 1-A  by  HAL,  India  can  save  a  large  amount  of  foreign  exchange  spent  on  importing  costly   fighter  planes   from  other  countries.  If  HAL  succeeds  in  bringing   Tejas  up  to  standard,  it  may  win  export  orders.  However,  achieving  export  is  dependent  on  political,  strategic  and  economic  factors.  Tejas is  capable of air-to-air refuelling. It is a lightweight, single-engine, highly active, all-weather multirole fighter plane. Another distinctive characteristic of the plane is  that  it  has  ‘beyond  visual  range ‘  missile  capability.  It  is  a  welcome  news  that  LCA  Mk-2  version  with  more  powerful  engine  is  in  its  developing  stage  and  is  likely  to  be  ready  for  trials  next  year.  The  approval  for  the  deal  will  definitely  send  a  strong  message  to  India’s  neighbourhood.  It will  boost  the    Atmanirbhar  mission. The  capabilities  of  Mk 1-A  along  with  their modern   weapons will  augment  the  strength  of  the  IAF.  The  induction  of  Tejas  into  the IAF  will  be  advantageous  to    India  at  a  time  when  the  country  is  faced  with  a  two-front  war  with  its  arch rivals –   China  and  Pakistan. 

VENU  G S, KOLLAM