Redouble efforts in fight against COVID-19, Navy chief urges force

New Delhi, Indian Navy chief Admiral Karambir Singh has exhorted the personnel in the force to redouble their efforts in the fight against coronavirus pandemic. “We are really the last bastion in the national effort against the pandemic,” Admiral Singh said in his address to his men.

He said that coronavirus has had an unprecedented and extraordinary impact across the globe, as also for India. “We all have soon come around to realising that the danger is real, imminent and unprecedented,” he said. He also said that the challenge is only likely to intensify in the days and weeks ahead, requiring the force to further augment its preparedness.

“It can no longer be business as usual. We have to take certain concrete measures to make sure that we are geared and prepared to tackle the full onslaught of the virus,” Admiral Singh said. He also cited the priorities for the force. “We have to redouble our efforts to make sure that our personnel and families continue to remain safe and healthy,” he said.

Admiral Singh pointed that care-givers cannot afford to become care-seekers. “We also have to make sure that our operational assets, especially ships and submarines, remain free from the virus,” he said.

The Navy chief said that physical distancing remains a challenge for any warship or submarine. “This requires us to apply ourselves, to make sure that our personnel and our readiness is not compromised. Follow physical distancing norms; adhere to advisories; screen personnel, using the word ‘physical’, because socially in the Navy we remain cohesive and close, but physically we will maintain distance,” he said.

He also stressed that the spirit of innovation, sense of generosity and attitude of selfless service must continue to steer collective efforts. “Finally, we have to keep our guard up and retain our sights firmly on full combat readiness. There can be no leeway on this count. Operation readiness must remain an important priority,” he said.

For the Navy, Admiral Singh said, they have taken certain measures in consonance with government actions, including a stop on recruitment and training; freeze on movements and transfers; and stoppage of work, except those related to national security, health and essential services.

He expressed the satisfaction that all personnel and communities have risen to the occasion and proactively come forward with a sense of commitment, courage, imagination and ingenuity.

“In particular, our medical teams, yard personnel, NWWA and ops/security/admin staff have been at the forefront, and deserve support and recognition,” an official statement issued on Thursday quoted him as saying.

Admiral Singh said that the naval medical teams have set up corona care centres, quarantine facilities and isolation wards in a short time span; 24-hour helplines, and COVID control centres to monitor the situation.

In terms of support to the civil administration, he said, ships and aircraft remain on standby to extend support to the Indian Ocean Region nations and island territories.

“Some support activities undertaken include airlifting of doctors for training, and blood samples for testing, from Goa to Pune; and movement of masks for Goa government from Delhi to Goa,” the naval chief said.