Chief of Defence Staff (CDS) General Bipin Rawat on Sunday said the armed forces’ personnel understand that they will have to remain uninfected by the virus to be able to support people and government as the country battles coronavirus outbreak. “As far as defence services are concerned, we do 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. “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. That is why we have issued very strict directions on social distancing, wearing of masks and ensuring that people who require to be in quarantine remain in quarantine,” said the CDS.
He pointed out that all the meetings and conferences are taking place through video conferencing. “The medical directions are being regularly issued by our Director General Armed Forces Medical Services (DGAFMS) to ensure good health of our soldiers and airmen under these difficult times.”
Stressing that directions issued from the “highest body”, the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) is being followed in letter and spirit to fight the menace of COVID19 and to ensure that Armed Forces remain safe, he said,”We are attending meetings organised by the Cabinet Secretary and we are attending meetings of the Ministry of Health. Whatever directions are coming, are percolating down to the rank and file and we are ensuring that these reach in the right time and right manner. This is very important for us to maintain strict discipline and patience.”
“There would be problems in these challenging times but we have to learn to live with them. It cannot be business as usual. These are the times when certain directions have been issued and they have to be adhered to if we want to fight the COVID-19 menace. I think our nation has done well. We will continue to do well if the directions issued from time to time are adhered to,” he added. General Rawat, while referring to the lockdown, said this is not the time to be impatient.
“We do know when the country is under lockdown and people are told to stay indoors, they tend to become impatient. This is not the time to be impatient. Patience is very important to ensure that we remain disciplined. Maintaining discipline in armed forces is not very difficult as we are accustomed to be in discipline but to maintain patience is the need of the hour,” he said
He further informed, “I am very happy to inform you that all our people have downloaded the Aarogya Setu application and should anyone get affected, we would be able to pick that up very soon. We would be able to ensure that the spread does not happen.”(ANI)