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‘Time has now come to be self-reliant’: General Bipin Rawat on Coronavirus outbreak

‘Patience and discipline helped the forces in checking the spread of virus,’ Chief of Defence Staff asserted.

SNS | New Delhi |

Chief of Defence Staff General Bipin Rawat said on Sunday that “discipline and patience” helped the defence services to contain the spread of Coronavirus and affected  the forces in a “limited manner” only.

General Rawat spoke about the “key lessons” which can be learnt from the Coronavirus outbreak which has infected over 26,000 people in India and killed around 824 people in the country.

“There has been a major lesson for us. The way these scientists, medical agencies involved have come up with ideas to produce the equipment required in the country, which we were so far importing, has been amazing,” News agency ANI quoted him as saying.

Rawat said, “In a short span of four to six weeks, we started manufacturing ventilators in the country. There are some key lessons for us in the defence services. We have been importing ammunition from abroad… but if this challenge is thrown to academia, we can make it in the country. The time has now come to be self-reliant. In times of crisis, countries will have to be self-dependent.”

“If we are looking at becoming a regional power, India will have to support other nations. The manner in which the health industry has come forth, I am sure that the defence sector can come forward at the same pace,” he remarked.

At this time when the nation is fighting COVID-19, the defence services “must operate beyond the mandate to support the people and government in whatever way we can,” Rawat mentioned.

Chief of Defence Staff said, “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.”

26 sailors of Indian Navy belonging to INS Angre – a shore establishment — were tested coronavirus positive at Mumbai on April 18

On this case of COVID-19 in the Navy, he said,  “The coronavirus outbreak has affected the Army, Air Force and Navy in a limited number. We have been quick to react. It’s because of quick reaction that we have been able to control the spread. The chain of transmission began with one asymptomatic naval officer.”

“Patience and discipline helped the forces in checking the spread of virus, ” he asserted.

On the nationwide lockdown imposed by the government to arrest the spread of COVID-19 outbreak, General Rawat said,  “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.”