Since India reels under a huge spurt in coronavirus cases, Defence Minister Rajnath Singh has asked the Army to extend help to state administrations to deal with the pandemic, including by offering assistance in creation of additional capacities to treat Covid patients.
Sources in the security establishment said following Singh's communication to Army Chief Gen MM Naravane, it was decided that the Army would consider offering treatment to civilians in its medical facilities, wherever possible, besides extending other assistance to civil administrations.
Singh has conveyed to Gen MM Naravane that the Army units in various states can get in touch with state administrations to understand their requirement like creation of additional capacities to deal with increasing volume of patients.
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, they said.
The sources said the defence minister has been in touch with the top brass of his ministry and the three forces on how the civilian administration across the country could be assisted in battling the coronavirus situation.
Following his review, the Defence Ministry instructed 67 hospitals run by Cantonment Boards across the country to ensure medical services to cantonment residents as well as those from outside. The Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) has already been told to extend all possible assistance it can extend to civil administrations across the country.