New Delhi, April 24 (IANS) The armed forces should ensure their operational preparedness even though they are battling Covid-19-19 so that adversaries do not exploit the current situation, Defence Minister Rajnath Singh said on Friday.

Singh reviewed the operational preparedness as well as the measures to fight Covid-19 with all the Commanders in Chief through a video conference earlier in the day.

Singh appreciated the role of the armed forces for the assistance extended to the local civilian administration and the preparatory measures taken to fight Covid-19.

The Defence Minister expected the forces to ensure their operational preparedness while they are battling Covid-19 so that the adversaries do not exploit the current situation.

He also directed the forces to initiate measures to spend the financial resources, avoiding wastage in view of the economic burdens imposed by the Covid-19 pandemic.

Stressing on the requirement of jointness of the armed forces, Singh asked the Commanders in Chief to identify and prioritise tasks that could be accomplished quickly and assist in revival of the economy after the lockdown is lifted.

During the conference, the Commanders in Chief apprised the Defence Minister of the various measures put in place by them to prevent the spread of the virus among the forces and the assistance extended to the local civilian administration.

These include issue of Standard Operating Procedures on Covid-19, introduction of appropriate modifications in protocols and drills as per the advisories issued by the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare and other agencies and taking care of the ex-servicemen and their families residing in their respective command areas.

The Commanders appreciated the recent devolution of emergency financial powers by the Ministry of Defence that has ensured timely procurement of necessary medical supplies to bolster the health infrastructure of the hospitals.

The armed forces have in a holistic manner taken upon themselves the responsibility of improving the support in dealing with the Covid-19 pandemic by augmenting additional manpower, and providing them with basic training to deal with the crisis.

The Commanders said that isolation and quarantine facilities have been set up for the forces as well as the local civilian administration. They also expressed the readiness to pitch in to maintain essential services locally if requested by the civilian administration.

–IANS

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