In order to ensure that COVID pandemic does not impact Army’s operational readiness, the first of two special trains with about 950 army personnel left Bangalore for north India April 17, and will reach Jammu April 20.
These officers and men, who completed professional courses at training establishments in Bangalore, Belgaum and Secunderabad, will rejoin their units deployed in operational areas, mostly in Kashmir and Ladakh. All of them have undergone the mandatory quarantine period and are medically fit. The second train to transport personnel to units deployed in the Northeast will leave for Guwahati via New Jalpaiguri later this month.
Sources said COVID-19 management protocols were strictly adhered to during this process. These include social distancing while training and screening, the use of a sanitisation tunnel (see video), and disinfection of the platform, bogies and baggage. Social distancing would also be maintained during the journey.
Social distancing was strictly maintained, and all luggage was screened and sealed
Medics in protective gear wait to screen soldiers before they board
The Army chief, General Manoj Mukund Naravane, who was on a two day trip to Kashmir April 16-17, has repeatedly made it clear that the COVID pandemic would not impact army’s operational readiness in any way. There has been no let up in the tension along the LoC, where five special forces commandos of the Indian Army and as many terrorists were killed in an encounter last week in Kupwara sector. The Indian Army retaliated by striking terror launch pads across the LoC with heavy artillery.
General Naravane has reassured the families of soldiers posted along the borders with Pakistan and China that the Army is taking care of them during this “difficult time.” He also said that while the economic impact of the Corona pandemic in India is quite disruptive, “I can assure you that there will not be any reduction in salary or pensions.”
In another development, Lt General B.S. Raju, who heads the 15th Corps responsible for security along the Line of Control and operations inside Jammu and Kashmir, told the Hindi Service of the BBC that the pandemic had not stopped Pakistan’s attempts to send terrorists across the border, and he had “received intelligence inputs (that) Pakistan is pushing a lot of coronavirus cases into Pakistan-occupied Jammu and Kashmir".
(Photos, video courtesy: Indian Army.)
For in-depth, objective and more importantly balanced journalism, Click here to subscribe to Outlook Magazine