As the Covid-19 crisis unfolds, the Indian Armed Forces have stepped in to help the country in fighting against the pandemic.
The Armed Forces Medical Services (AFMS) has dedicated 19 hospitals, over 4,000 beds, and 585 ICU units throughout the country for civilian use. The capacity of Delhi's Base Hospital has been increased from about 400 to 1,000 beds, transforming it into a COVID hospital, said Rajnath Singh, the Defence Minister in a blog post as reported by The Hindustan Times.
At different hospitals, the AFMS has dispatched additional doctors, including specialists, super specialists, and paramedics. In Uttar Pradesh, the Army has provided 100 beds in Lucknow and Prayagraj. At the same time, in Madhya Pradesh, the Army has set up a 40-bed isolation facility with ambulances in Sagour. Bhopal, Jabalpur, Gwalior, Pune, and other parts of the country have received similar assistance.
In addition, the Patiala administration has received Army battlefield nursing assistants (BFNAs) for hospital management. 200 drivers are on standby to transport oxygen transporters across the country, and 10 TATRA and 15 ALS vehicles are equipped to transport medical supplies arriving at Palam airport.
The Indian Air Force flew 50 sorties, transporting 61 oxygen containers with a capacity of 1142 MT from overseas. According to a press release, it flew 344 sorties within the country, airlifting 230 containers with a capacity of 4527 MT until May 5, 2021. The Indian Navy has dispatched ships to augment the oxygen supply for the task. On May 5, the INS Talwar arrived in Mangalore with the first such shipment from Bahrain.
During various natural disasters, the Indian Armed Forces have consistently aided the nation. During the 2019 floods in Maharashtra, Karnataka, Kerala, and Tamil Nadu, for instance, the Navy, Air Force, and Army deployed a total of 123 rescue teams to 16 flood-affected districts across four states.
The army had also rushed during the Uttarakhand Glacier accident earlier this year and came to the rescue of affected people from the nearby areas.