Rajnath asks armed forces to help states deal with pandemic

All forces and DRDO have been asked to make an analysis and then discuss with state governments how they can help

Rajnath Singh
Rajnath Singh chaired a meeting with top defence officials on Tuesday | File Photo: PTI

Defence Minister Rajnath Singh on Tuesday met top defence officials to explore ways to assist state administrations to deal with the pandemic.

Among the measures discussed were emergency procurement of equipment to enhance infrastructure and setting up COVID-19 hospitals.

“A structured dialogue with all stakeholders took place. All forces and DRDO have been asked to make an analysis and then discuss with state governments how they can help,” a defence ministry official said.

Those who attended the videoconference included Chief of Naval Staff Admiral Karambir Singh; Chief of Army Staff General MM Naravane; Director General Armed Forces Medical Services (AFMS) Surgeon Vice-Admiral Rajat Datta; Secretary (Defence Production) Raj Kumar; Secretary Department of Defence R&D and Chairman Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) Dr G Satheesh Reddy.

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DRDO has already reopened a medical facility in Delhi with a capacity of 250 beds. Its capacity will be increased to 500 beds and subsequently to 1,000 beds, if required.

The army will also consider offering treatment to civilians in its medical facilities, wherever possible, besides extending other assistance to civil administrations.

Also read: Bharat Biotech to scale up Covaxin production to 70 crore doses a year

Singh conveyed to Gen Naravane that army units in various states can get in touch with the administrations to understand their requirements.

Subsequently, it was decided that the senior-most army officer in a state would get in touch with the chief minister to understand the requirement and take forward the process, including offering to treat civilians wherever possible, sources told PTI.

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