Defence Minister Rajnath Singh on Monday reviewed efforts of the armed forces, defence public sector undertakings (DPSUs) and Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) in India’s fight against a severe wave of the coronavirus pandemic.
At a video conference, Singh was briefed about specific initiatives of the three forces as well as other wings of the Defence Ministry in helping civilian authorities deal with the crisis.
The meeting was attended by Chief of Defence Staff Gen Bipin Rawat, Army Chief Gen MM Naravane, Navy Chief Admiral Karambir Singh, Chief of Air Staff Air Chief Marshal RKS Bhadauria and DRDO Chairman G Satheesh Reddy, among others.
“Raksha Mantri Shri @rajnathsingh chairing a meeting of secretaries, CDS, service chiefs and Ministry of Defence officials via video conferencing to review the actions taken by the ministry and armed forces in India’s fight against COVID-19 pandemic," Singh’s office tweeted.
Officials said the contribution of the DPSUs and other agencies of the Defence Ministry to the country’s fight against the pandemic was also reviewed.
In responding to the crisis, the Indian Army and the Indian Navy have set up a number of hospitals in various states for the treatment of COVID-19 patients.
On its part, the Indian Air Force deployed a significant number of its transport aircraft to bring cryogenic oxygen tanks and other emergency medical supplies from several countries, including Singapore, Thailand and United Arab Emirates.
The Indian Navy also deployed nine warships to bring filled oxygen containers to India from countries in the Gulf region and Southeast Asia.
Last month, Singh granted emergency financial powers to the three services to allow formation commanders to establish and operate hospitals as well as quarantine facilities for COVID-19 patients.
The emergency powers have been granted initially for a period of three months from May 1 to July 31 and are in addition to the similar powers delegated to the medical officers of the armed forces last week.