The chief of the Indian Army, General Manoj Mukund Naravane, said on Friday that the Indian Army’s mantra in this war against the rapid spread of Coronavirus in the country is “Say No to Panic, Yes to Precaution”.
In an address to the media, the newly-appointed army chief said: I'm happy to say that there is excellent synergy between all organs of the government and the Indian Army is geared up in keeping with the overall mantra "Say No to Panic, Yes to Precaution”.
Stating that it is the “earnest responsibility” of the Indian Army to ensure the safety of borders while the country is at the forefront of the fight against the pandemic, Naravane mentioned that steps such as restricting the movement of personnel and the cancellation of conferences and seminars have been taken to ensure that the operational preparedness of the Army isn't impaired and that the spread of the virus is contained.
“The temporary phase of postponing our routine activities will soon be overcome by rescheduling them as and when the situation stabilises,” he added.
Will the Army Step In?
Answering a question on whether India would call in the army to help fight the COVID-19 virus, like in some European countries, Naravane said there are no such plans for now as the Army is currently keeping up with the nation’s requirement by establishing quarantine facilities in states such as Harayana (Maneser) and Rajasthan (Jaisalmer and Jodhpur) and has played an active role in evacuating Indian nationals from China, Italy and Iran.
From the setting up of isolation and quarantine units to the use of defence labs to manufacture sanitisers and masks, at crucial times during the crisis, the Indian Army has ramped up facilities required to deal with the increasing cases of COVID-19 in the country.
Talking about the contingencies that the Army needs to be prepared for and extending help to civil administration, the General said there is likely to be an increase in demand for medical services and instructions have been passed on regarding the same.
The instructions include increasing isolation capacity; keeping 30 percent of field hospital on stand for constructing COVID19 hospitals, and Quick Reaction Medical Teams are ready to meet requirements within six hours of notice.
Naravane said that the situation is being monitored on a daily basis, with army commanders, and he is satisfied with the planning and preparations undertaken by the Indian Army so far.
Message for citizens
At last, the Army Chief reached out to citizens of India with a message to take collective efforts to prevent COVID-19 from establishing a firm base.
The next few weeks will be crucial in preventing the negative effects of this deadly mutant virus. I would only request my fellow citizens to abide by the instructions given the by Government and help India emerge victorious in the fight against COVID-19.
As per the latest figures stated by India’s premier research lab Indian Council for Medical Research a total of 691 individuals have been confirmed positive among suspected cases of COVID-19. The nation, which is into 21-day lockdown that came into effect on 24 March midnight, has reported 17 deaths due to the viral infection so far.