Amid the nationwide lockdown to contain Covid-19 pandemic, the Indian Army, Navy, and Air Force have been given specific instructions to handle the Covid-19 crisis by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Chief of Defence Staff General Bipin Rawat said.
In an exclusive interview to India Today, General Bipin Rawat spoke about the preparedness of the tri-services and how the coronavirus pandemic has taught a lesson to the defence sector.
Bipin Rawat said the cabinet secretaries are holding meetings and discussions on how to handle the situation, following which instructions are being given out to the Indian Army, Navy and Air Force by the Ministry of Health.
“From time to time, instructions are coming from the Prime Minister to all the three armies to deal with the novel coronavirus. The cabinet secretaries are holding meetings and instructions are being given to the three armies by the Ministry of Health,” Bipin Rawat told India Today.
Bipin Rawat said, “The defense minister has also spoken to the Commander-in-Chief of the tri-services and reviewed the preparedness of the army.”
Rawat said few of the officers, who have been infected with novel coronavirus, have been quarantined. He, however, added that no soldiers posted at the border have been infected so far.
“Till now, our soldiers are posted on the border. There has not been a single case. None of our naval ships and submarines and the Air Force have been infected by the corona yet,” Bipin Rawat said.
Bipin Rawat said the training of the tri-services is going well and have not been affected due to the Covid-19 crisis, even though there might be “financial difficulties”.
“We were ready before Covid-19 crisis and are still ready. While there are some financial difficulties, none of our processes have been affected. We have modern weapons. Our training is going well,” Bipin Rawat said.
Rawat said that the coronavirus pandemic has taught a lesson that the “weapons and equipment which of all our tri-services have in common can be made indigenously”.
“We have also benefitted greatly from the manner in which all our agencies acted while handing Covid-19 crisis. Many of our companies are making ventilators. The DRDO has designed the N99 masks. If we want, we can make all these things in our country,” he said.
Coronavirus has taught us a lesson that the weapons and equipment that all our three armies have in common can be made indigenously,” Bipin Rawat said.
Pointing to the Make in India initiative, Bipin Rawat said India needs to move towards making weapons and accessories for the tri-services in the country.
“We should move towards making weapons and accessories for the three armies in Make in India now. For this, we have to work together with our IITs, private industry and all the three armies. This will also reduce the imports of the three armies in the coming days and we will move towards self-sufficiency in the defense sector through Make in India,” Bipin Rawat said.