Indian Army Chief General Manoj Mukund Naravane said that the Indian Army benefitted greatly during the Eastern Ladakh crisis with China due to the steps taken during the Covid-19 outbreak.
“The Indian Army was ready (due to anti-COVID measures) to meet all contingencies. As it so transpired, when the crisis developed along our borders in Eastern Ladakh, our decision for Force Preservation benefitted us, as we were in a high state of operational preparedness,” Gen Naravane said while addressing a function.
He said as the situation warmed up along our Northern Borders, our jawans rose to the occasion.
“They had full faith in their leaders. They were willing to work through all the challenges and difficulties to achieve their objectives, all this within the available resources. This was possible because we had war-gamed the likely contingencies and possible options beforehand,” the Army chief said.
SPONTANEOUS ACTIONS WERE TAKEN
General Naravane said force preservation does not mean that we are only taking care of ourselves.
“The Indian Army prides itself as a citizens’ Army, committed to the safety & security of our people. On our part, we proactively contributed to the Govt’s efforts towards meeting this challenge.
“We were involved in the setting up of Quarantine Centres and Hospitals at various places across the length and breadth of the country in a record timeframe. The strengthening of medical infrastructure and oxygen supply chains was integrated into the overall national effort,” he said.
Naravane said spontaneous actions were taken at all levels to meet the challenge without waiting for any formal orders. “While carrying out these tasks, our fatalities were far below the National Average. This can be attributed to the high standard of physical fitness and self-discipline, a testimony to the effectiveness of junior leadership.”
The Army chief stated that even during the crisis, certain functions did not cease. “You could shut down schools and offices, factories and shopping centres, but you could not cease security. Our borders had to be protected, the soldiers had to discharge their duties.”
Gen Naravane added that the Covid-19 also had “a silver lining for an Army of our size” coupled with the challenges of life and active borders. This crisis has been a defining moment.
“It forced us to introspect and improve our processes and reinvent our procedures. People on their own came to acknowledge how the power of technology can be
harnessed and utilized. Old inhibitions were shed. As an organisation, it has made us more efficient,” MM Naravane said.