General Bipin Rawat, the Chief of Defence Staff (CDS) says that the armed forces understand their responsibility in the fight against coronavirus disease (Covid-19) and have to ensure that they remain safe to support the people of the country.
“As armed forces, we understand our responsibility that at this time when the nation is fighting against Covid-19 menace, the defence services must operate beyond the mandate and come to the support of our people and government in whatever way we can,” General Rawat told ANI in an exclusive interview on Sunday.
He added that for the forces to support the country, they have to first ensure that ‘we remain safe from Covid-19.
“In order to do so, we have to first ensure that we remain safe from Covid-19 because if our own sailors, soldiers and airmen get affected by this virus, how are we going to support our people,” he added.
General Rawat said that strict directions have been issued to the armed forces on social distancing, wearing of masks and ensuring that people who need to be isolated remain in quarantine.
Twenty five Indian Navy personnel and eight Army personnel including two doctors and one nursing assistant have so far tested positive for coronavirus.
According to Navy sources, the reported cases are asymptomatic and were traced to one sailor who tested positive on April 7. Twenty of these sailors are from INS Angre, a shore establishment in Mumbai. The navy men have been admitted in naval hospital INHS Asvini in Mumbai’s Colaba after testing positive for the novel coronavirus.
Speaking about the Covid-19 cases in military, General Rawat said discipline and patience has helped the armed forces in preventing the spread of disease.
“Covid-19 has affected the three services in a very limited number. I would say that this is the discipline and patience which has helped us in preventing the spread of the menace,” he said.