Indian Army to strictly observe ‘no movement’ till April 19 due to coronavirus pandemic

NEW DELHI: The Indian Army on Thursday issued a directive to all its military establishments, cantonments, formation headquarters and units, asking them to strictly ensure no movement of forces till April 19 in view of the extended lockdown to fight the coronavirus pandemic. India went under a total shutdown of 21 days from March 25 to April 14 to fight the coronavirus pandemic. On Tuesday, Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced extending the lockdown till May 3 but added that certain restrictions could be lifted from April 20.

In the Army headquarters, the wings handling military operations, military intelligence, operational logistics and strategic movement will carry out their functions with bare minimum staff strength till April 19, according to the order.

Within the command headquarters, wings handling manpower, logistics and operations will only function with skeletal staff. In Northern and Eastern commands, the intelligence branch will also function as usual.

“In view of the extension of lockdown, all military establishments, cantonments, formation headquarters and units will observe strict ‘No Movement’ till April 19,” the order said.

It also mentioned that offices in Army headquarters, command headquarters and formation headquarters would start functioning with 50 per cent manpower from April 19 to May 3.

It said all training activities and temporary duties will remain suspended till May 3, adding directions on actions to be taken post the lockdown period will be issued on receipt of fresh orders from the government.

In its directive, the Army said personnel connected with providing essential services will be allowed to move and that the restrictions will not hinder any operational tasks of any formation or units.

All social, sports, entertainment, academic, cultural and religious gatherings as well as religious congregations and regimental events will have to be suspended till May 3, according to the order.

“Offices falling in ‘hotspots or containment zones’ will observe strict ‘no movement’ till they are denotified. Exceptions to be given will depend on the local military authority,” the order said.

It said Directorate General Medical Services (Army) will continue functioning at full strength to provide a robust response to COVID-19.

All medical establishments and hospitals will continue functioning at full strength.

Last month, Army Chief Gen Manoj Mukund Naravane issued instructions to insulate the 13 lakh strong Army from the coronavirus pandemic.

Gen Naravane also conveyed to the families of the soldiers guarding India’s borders with Pakistan and China that the Army is taking care of its personnel serving the country in this difficult time.

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