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Operation Namaste: The Indian Army’s war against coronavirus

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New Delhi, Mar 28: Army Chief General Manoj Mukund Naravane launched an initiative christened 'Operation Namaste' to insulate the 1.3 million strong force from coronavirus infection and extend all possible assistance to the government in containing the pandemic. He also asked all Army personnel to take prescribed precautions against the virus and assured soldiers and officers deployed along borders with Pakistan and China that special care is being taken of their families in the wake of the pandemic.

"I would request everyone to take care of themselves and their families. Your safety is my first responsibility," the Army Chief said.

Manoj Mukund Naravane

"I want to assure all the soldiers posted on the border that we will take special care of your families. We will achieve success in the 'Operation Namaste'," he told reporters.

General 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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"As the Army Chief, it is my priority to protect my force. We all will have to stay away from this disease. We will be able to serve the nation when we are away from the disease," he said.

He said that social distancing among the Army personnel may not be possible to implement in key formations due tactical and operational reasons.

Because of this, he said it was important for Army personnel to keep themselves safe and fit.

Under 'Operation Namaste', the Army has issued series of directives to all its bases to insulate the force from the coronavirus. The Army headquarters issued a number of advisories in the last few weeks to deal with the situation.

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"To fight this problem (coronavirus), the government has taken several special steps. In this fight, it is our duty to help the government and civil administration," the Army Chief said.

The Army has already set up command-wise helpline as part of measures to deal with any possible eventualities arising out of the pandemic.

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