Defence Minister Rajnath Singh on Friday directed the top military brass to make sure that India’s adversaries don't get any opportunity to push their “evil design” by taking advantage of the country’s specialise in fighting the coronavirus pandemic, officials said.
Reviewing India’s military preparedness at a high-level meeting, he also asked the military to avoid wasteful expenditure and ascertain judicious utilisation of funds in sight of the downturn within the economy caused by the pandemic, they said.
The top army brass apprised Singh about things along the road of Control in Jammu and Kashmir also as along the nearly-3,500 KM frontier with China. Navy Chief Admiral Karambir Singh briefed Singh about the general situation within the Indian Ocean region where China has been increasingly expanding its military influence by deploying warships and submarines.
A serious focus of the deliberations was on situation in Jammu and Kashmir, said a politician . Notwithstanding the coronavirus pandemic within the region, Pakistan has been resorting to unprovoked ceasefire violations along the road of Control and making concerted efforts to push militants into Kashmir within the last several weeks, officials said.
India has been retaliating strongly to the Pakistani “misadventure” by targeting terror launch pads and ammunition storage across the LoC, they said. On Wednesday, Director General of Jammu and Kashmir Police Dilbag Singh said Pakistan was sending militants infected with COVID-19 into Kashmir to spread the disease among the people of the valley.
“Singh expected the forces to make sure their operational preparedness, while they're battling COVID-19 which the adversary shouldn't be allowed to take advantage of the present situation,” a defence ministry said during a statement.
Besides the Navy Chief, the meeting was attended by Chief of Defence Staff Gen Bipin Rawat, Chief of Army Staff Gen M M Naravane, Chief of Air Staff Air Chief Marshal R K S Bhadauria, Defence Secretary Ajay Kumar and Secretary Defence (Finance) Gargi Kaul.
Top military commanders from key commands of the military , the Navy and therefore the Indian Air Force across the country also attended the meeting through video conference.
within the meeting, the defence minister asked the highest military brass to spot and prioritise tasks that would help in revival of the economy after the lockdown is lifted, besides emphasising on the necessity for ensuring jointness among the three services, officials said.
The commanders appreciated recent devolution of emergency financial powers granted to them by the defence ministry, saying the choice has ensured timely procurement of necessary medical supplies to bolster the health infrastructure of the military hospitals, they said.
within the conference, the commanders apprised the minister about various measures put in place by them to stop coronavirus infection among the forces and therefore the assistance extended to the local civilian administration to affect the pandemic, the ministry said.
“These include issue of ordinary procedure on COVID-19, introduction of appropriate modifications in protocols and drills as per the advisories issued by Ministry of Health and other agencies and taking care of the ex-servicemen and their families residing in their respective command areas,” the ministry said.
It said the soldiers also expressed readiness to dig in to take care of essential services, locally, if requested by civilian administrations.
“In his address, the defence minister appreciated the role of the soldiers for the help extended to the local civilian administration and preparatory measures taken to fight COVID-19,” the ministry said. The armed force are playing a key role within the country’s fight against the pandemic which has killed over 700 people and infected quite 23,000.