The challenge of countering the spread of COVID-19 virus has brought in all branches of the government, including the armed forces, at the forefront of this fight. As the biggest service among the armed forces, the Army, led by the Army Chief General MM Naravane, will have a leading role to play in this fight. The Indian Express conversed with General Naravane over email about the effect of spread of COVID-19 on the Army, its preparation and contingency planning.
What has been the major effect of spread of COVID-19 on the Army – operationally, recruitment and training-wise, and in terms of logistics and planning?
It is the earnest responsibility of the Indian Army to keep the borders safe while the country is preparing and fighting COVID-19. Indian Army is undertaking its operational tasks like before and there is no effect on operational preparedness. Various measures have been promulgated with respect to restricting the movement of personnel, cancellation of conferences/ seminars, postings etc in view of spread of COVID-19. These measures are a must to prevent any further spread of COVID-19 and in sync with various directions and advisory issued by GoI.
There are contingency plans in place and spread of COVID-19 will not affect the core efficiency of the IA. The temporary phase of postponing our routine activities will soon be overcome by rescheduling them as and when the situation stabilizes. As of now, our focus will be to combat COVID-19 aggressively by taking precautions, following lockdown and curfew measures effectively and preparing own resources for future scenario.
I’m happy to say that there is an excellent synergy between all organs of the government and Indian Army is geared up in keeping with the overall mantra “Say No to Panic, Yes to Precaution”.