New Delhi, Apr 17: Amidst nationwide lockdown across the country, the Indian Army on Thursday issued a fresh instruction and said military establishments, cantonments, formation headquarters, and units will strictly observe 'no movement' till April 19.
The development came after Prime Minister Narendra Modi further extended the lockdown till May 3, to contain the spread of Novel Coronavirus. Earlier, it was till April 14. The Indian Army said its latest directive will not hinder operational tasks of units and those will be carried out with the requisite strength.
'Within the Army headquarters only the military operations, military intelligence, operational logistics, and strategic movement branches will function, to carry out operational and COVID-19 related tasks. However, the duration of stay and strength within these branches is to be at a bare minimum till April 19,' the instructions issued by the Army said. The Army said personnel from the remaining branches would work from home and any specific task would be handled on a case-to-case basis, till April 19. The instructions said at the Command HQ level, only manpower, logistics, and operations branches would function with a skeleton staff. However, the intelligence branch would also function at the operationally critical Northern and Eastern Commands. The Army said offices in its headquarters, Command HQ and formation HQ might start functioning at 50 per cent of their strength between April 19 and May 3. The Directorate General Medical Services (Army) will continue functioning at full strength to provide a robust response to COVID-19 and all medical establishments and hospitals will continue functioning at full strength till May 3.
'All training activities and temporary duties will remain suspended till May 3. Directions on actions to be taken after May 3 will be issued on receipt of fresh orders from the government. No activity is to be assumed,' the instructions added. All social, sports, entertainment, academic, cultural and religious gatherings have also been suspended till May 3. Nor will religious congregations, regimental or ceremonial functions be permitted. 'Offices falling in ‘hotspots or containment zones’ will observe strictly 'no movement' till they are denotified. Exceptions to be given will depend on the local military authority,' the instructions said.
The Army, which is at the forefront of the country's fight against the COVID-19 pandemic, took a raft of preventive measures in March, to stop the spread of the viral outbreak within it's ranks. These measures included the cancellation of all non-essential training, conferences and travel, a freeze on postings and foreign assignments, avoiding any assembly that involves more than 50 personnel and postponing all courses for officers. (UNI)