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February 17, 2021: Briefings on South Asia


1) India-China began disengagement ending a 10-month standoff

· Indian military planners point to many tank transporters' presence, indicating that the Chinese Army has plans to move heavy armor from the standoff points.

· The withdrawal spans several friction areas along LAC.

· The standoff began in May 2020, when both the Indian and Chinese Army got into a non-arms fight, causing both sides casualties.

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2) Multiple COVID strains have reached India

· The South African and Brazilian mutant strains of coronavirus have entered India.

· According to the Indian Council of Medical Research, four persons were detected with the South African variant of SARS-CoV-2 in January, and one tested positive for the Brazil variant in February.

· Besides the two variants, India also has about 187 cases from the UK variant of SARS-CoV-2

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3) Sri Lankan Navy to remain at Hambantota Port

· President Gotabaya Rajapaksa has informed China that the Hambantota Port's security will be in the Sri Lankan Navy's hands.

· The Hambantota port is a China-sponsored port aiming to be a key trading port in the busy Indian Ocean shipping lanes.

· Earlier, India has raised concerns citing the Chinese attempt to challenge India's presence in the region.

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