Prime Minister Narendra Modi met Chief of Defence Staff (CDS) General Bipin Rawat on Monday to review the ongoing operations of the Indian Armed Forces to battle the current wave of coronavirus disease (Covid-19). The recent surge in infections has caused a shortage of medical oxygen and beds.

Chief of Defence Staff (CDS) General Bipin Rawat on Monday called on Prime Minister Narendra Modi to review preparations and operations being undertaken by the Indian Armed Forces to deal with the raging coronavirus pandemic, according to a government statement. In addition to deploying additional medical officers, doctors and nurses at the hospitals, the armed forces are aiming to make military-grade medical infrastructure available to civilians, CDS Bipin Rawat informed the Prime Minister.

“The CDS briefed the PM that all medical personnel from armed forces who have retired or taken pre-mature retirement in the last 2 years are being recalled to work in Covid facilities within proximity of their present place of residence. Other medical officers who retired earlier have also been requested to make their services available for consultation through medical emergency helplines," General Bipin Rawat informed the Prime Minister, according to the statement. He added that other medical officers who had retired earlier are also being requested to provide consultation through medical emergency helplines.

Moreover, all medical officers currently on staff appointments at command headquarters, Corps headquarters, Division headquarters, and similar headquarters of the Indian Navy and Indian Air Force will be employed at hospitals. Nursing personnel is also being employed in large numbers to accompany the doctors at the hospitals, the PIB release cited CDS Rawat as saying.

Regarding the current oxygen crisis in the country, General Bipin Rawat said that oxygen cylinders available with the armed forces in various establishments will be released for hospitals. Not just this, the armed forces are also planning to build medical facilities in large numbers to make potential military medical infrastructure available to the civilians.

Prime Minister Modi reviewed the operations being undertaken by the IAF to transport oxygen and other essentials in India and abroad. He also asked the CDS to instruct Kendriya and Rajya Sainik Welfare Boards and officers posted in various headquarters to coordinate the services of veterans to extend the reach to remote areas.

India is currently struggling with a more infectious second wave of the deadly coronavirus disease (Covid-19) infection and hospitals in several states are reeling under a shortage of medical oxygen and beds in view of rising Covid-19 cases. The country recorded more than 300,000 coronavirus cases for the fifth day in a row on Monday.