As India reels under a massive spike in coronavirus cases, Defence Minister Rajnath Singh has asked the Army to extend assistance to State administrations to deal with the pandemic, including by offering help in creation of additional capacities to treat COVID-19 patients.
Sources in the security establishment said following Mr. Singh’s communication to Army Chief Gen. MM Naravane, it was decided that the Army would consider offering treatment to civilians in its medical facilities, wherever possible, besides extending other assistance to civil administrations.
Mr. Singh has conveyed to Gen. MM Naravane that the Army units in various States can get in touch with State administrations to understand their requirement like creation of additional capacities to deal with increasing volume of patients.
Subsequently, it was decided that the senior-most Army officer in a State would get in touch with the chief minister to understand the requirement and take forward the process, including offering to treat civilians wherever possible, they said.
The sources said the defence minister has been in touch with the top brass of his ministry and the three forces on how the civilian administration across the country could be assisted in battling the coronavirus situation.
The sources said it was also communicated to the leadership of the Indian Air Force and the Navy to gear up their preparedness in dealing with the situation.
Separately, Defence Secretary Ajay Kumar reviewed the possible areas where the armed forces can extend assistance to the civilian authorities.