Tuesday, 18 January, 2022
HomeOpinionBrahmastraIt is war. Modi govt must deploy Indian military to fight coronavirus

It is war. Modi govt must deploy Indian military to fight coronavirus

Countries like US, Italy, China, Spain have realised why military deployment could be the only way to win the war against an unseen enemy.

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Corona Warriors or Covid Warriors are the two terms that have become synonymous with India’s healthcare workers and others involved in the fight against coronavirus. The fact is that India is waging a war against an unseen enemy. And this is no ordinary battle.

This is precisely why the Indian military should be deployed across the country to fight this war that has prompted the Narendra Modi government to impose a 21-day nationwide lockdown. While I have argued in the past against random deployment of military for law and order breakdowns, the current situation warrants that the defence forces be deployed against coronavirus.

Countries across the world — be it the US, Italy, China, or Spain — have deployed the military directly or brought in the reserves as part of the protocol to fight coronavirus.

In India, the military has largely been confined to setting up quarantine centres to take care of evacuees from abroad. While multiple quarantine centres have come up, some more have been kept on standby as a precautionary measure.

The Indian Air Force (IAF) has been roped in along with the national carrier Air India to bring back Indians stuck abroad.

It is only now that the military has been asked to test samples of suspected COVID-19 patients.

However, the need of the hour is to proactively deploy the military and use its expertise and assets to win this war against coronavirus.

Here’s why the military should be deployed across India without further delay.


Also read: There is a reason India turned to Armed Forces Medical Services when it came to coronavirus


Medics

One of the military’s biggest assets is its large pool of doctors and trained assistants. Every unit in the defence forces is equipped with medical teams whose members are trained to work in chaotic and extreme situations with minimal infrastructure.

And this is exactly what China realised. China had deployed over 10,000 military medics to virus-hit Hubei province and its capital Wuhan, where the virus was first observed.

Such was the fightback by China that the Peoples’ Liberation Army (PLA) took over the country’s medical and essential supplies. Even the hospitals created in record time in China to deal with coronavirus were built by PLA and manned by military medics.

The Indian military has several big and small hospitals and clinics all over the country. These units are equipped with all the life-saving drugs and other infrastructure that goes into treating soldiers and veterans.

The Modi government should ensure that this large pool of resources and expertise is deployed in full against coronavirus.

An article by The Economist noted that wartime experience can also yield useful insights for civilian medicine.

“The development of mechanical ventilators to ease Acute Respiratory Distress Syndrome (ARDS)—a potentially fatal condition in which the lungs cannot provide vital organs with enough oxygen, common in patients who die of covid-19—emerged from work during the second world war.

“In recent decades military doctors have made important contributions to advances in ventilation and intensive care,” it said.


Also read: Army starts Covid-19 testing in its hospitals, issues fresh guidelines to fight pandemic


Logistics

The military, with its large trucks, ships, transport aircraft and engineering columns, is the most equipped arm of the central government when it comes to creation of logistics.

The defence forces can be deployed to undertake the big logistics operation that is needed to fight the menace of the fast-spreading coronavirus.

The military can be used for setting up more quarantine camps across India besides testing centres. It has the ability to reach the highest and the deepest areas of habitation.

The deployment of military will take the pressure off the understaffed and over-stretched civil infrastructure.

Not only can the military be used to set up new camps but also in the creation of large community kitchens that can cater to all those unable to travel to their natives places and are stuck in shelter homes due to the lockdown.

The military can be used for awareness initiatives too, besides record keeping and other logistics.

This is precisely why the Army was deployed at currency printing centres during demonetisation. The soldiers worked round the clock, printing the new currency notes with military precision.


Also read: Military’s isolation camps on standby, Army ready to deploy facilities to fight COVID-19


Trained manpower

Another big advantage of the military is the massive pool of trained and specialised manpower that can be pressed into service in a matter of hours.

This trained manpower is the reason why the military is often deployed whenever there is any natural calamity or a crisis in civilian locations.

The military also has a system of recall by which it can ask all those who retired in the last two years to offer their services.

And yes, all eligible veterans are always open to come back and serve the nation when needed.

The military should be deployed for maintenance of lockdown if the need arises. The armed forces are known for following rules and are often the last resort in a law and order situation that the police had failed to handle. This is because people know that the Army means business.

Views are personal. 

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31 COMMENTS

  1. Dear Author,
    I think its a high time when the Govt n its officials need to be enlighted with the clause n the terms under which the Army is requisitioned, ie AID TO CIVIL AUTHORITY. It clearly states that when all the options hav been exhausted, it is then n only then, Army is requisitioned as a last resort.

  2. I think its a high time when the Govt n its officials need to be enlighted with the clause n the terms under which the Army is requisitioned, ie AID TO CIVIL AUTHORITY. It clearly states that when all the options hav been exhausted, it is then n only then, Army is requisitioned as a last resort.

    • ALL THIS BHRAHMMINS, JAAINS, BAANIA AND CITIES – URBAN – GOOD FOR NOTHING LOSERS, DRAGGERS, BLOOD SUCKERS AND BLOOD HOUNDERS….ALL HAVE COMMENTED AS FOR NOT USING MILITARY SERVICES………..WHY ??? IF THEY ARE PAID SALARY, PENSIONS, THEN THEY SHOULD BE USED FOR CRITICAL SITUATIONS…….AND BORDERS ARE GUARDED BY BSF & OTHER PARA-MILITARY ……AND NOT BY ARMMY, TEHY ARE LYING IDLE …….

  3. Why should Army be involved in biological warfare if not prepared and protected ? This is not as simple as it seems. This is a simple management issue screwed by illiterate and uneducated people. There would have been no chaos had minimum time given to people specially daily wagers. Inspite number of possibilities the Government was sleeping for more than a month. And suddenly thought of surgical strike as if it is enemy you are dealing with. Besides export was on without giving specification to many. Now with total shut down asking for tenders. How will local manufacturers will do the job when industries can’t have raw materials and working and transportation to despatch. Doesn’t forget that army is not the solution for every stupidity and disaster with more than half deployed on board and this is the season when activity starts on boarder.

  4. Such a stupid analysis. The writer has only superficial knowledge about military. Doesn’t he know that the military has a defined role? Do the military have a separate workforce in standby for COVID-19? Is this standby force more than enough to deal with the emergency situation created by the COVID-19 within it’s establishment? All the offices and establishments are functioning with skeletal strength equally fearing the spread of the virus. 25-30% of it’s personnel are stranded wherever they are. Does the military have adequate infrastructure to disinfect its aircraft, ships, trucks the writer has referred to? Is there any agency who can supply such materials at this time? When the Nation is locked down, the military too has equally locked down its personnel or else how on Earth is it going to deal with the Pandemic. There are thousand such ifs and buts. But the military is at the disposal of the Nation and it will always be at the forefront for the People.

  5. Dear author,

    Are you one of those foreign funded media? If yes, who are the individuals and which country do you work for?

    Thanks.

  6. I think we should have our ARMY standby but no need to deploy just yet, it is our final weapon; so we need to use it carefully.

  7. Dear Sir,
    Indeed military has some uniqueness in theirs works, they are discipline and they work in an systematic manner,
    Yes in India Military should be called for to check Corona viruses and maintain law and order

  8. very goooood article.not allowing me to post my opinion. It seems they built in some algorithm to. filter users to post comments and allow only few.Long live The print.

  9. These articles are sponsored and misleading.
    How can they give examples of China,Spain and Italy and ask India to follow them. All of them failed to recognise the seriousness of the issue initially and jailed people who spoke about it.
    It is better if The Print disclose their sponsors.
    Even today China does not provide any facts about this issue..

  10. Chaman Lal. What are your civilian counter parts doing? Sitting on their huge fat back sides? Tell them that work their backs off. The military is there to take care of the borders. For internal matters it is the civilian infrastructure. These people earn their salaries with very little work. Let them show that they also work without taking any under the table monies.

  11. National Disaster management Authority has been created for such events and funded for, use of armed forces is highly inappropriate and the article has no merit

  12. Let the civilian handle their own mess created due to dishonesty. If civilian can’t manage coronavirus, they must taste it’s consequences so that next time they will behave responsibly towards society. It is bad habits to always turn to army for civilian crisis. Instead civilian should forced the government to create such infrastructure for civilian manned by civilian. Till then civilian should bear the consequences of their false sense of pride. A weak boys always turn to mama with a request to handle bullies at school. This childhood habits of us always look at army to help whenever bullied by any crisis. A bad habid of spoilt child.
    Adv. Shakil Akhtar
    Supreme Court of India
    9717214471

  13. Modi would do whatever is needed to defeat the Corona virus and he doesn’t need advice from librandus. But what these good for nothing Modi haters would do? They can jump from their roof tops or jump into a nearby river or simply hang themselves as they are good for nothing even during pandemic times.

  14. No need to deployment of the Indian Army because
    1. 13 lakhs of Indian railways employees are available as railways is closed.
    2. 15 lakhs of PSU Bank employees are available.
    3. More than 50 lakhs of post office and central government employees are available.
    4. State government officials are sufficient numbers available
    5. If required private sector companies employees can also be used.
    6. Private vehicles are available in sufficient number.

    • And also a large horde of liberal gang members associated with CPM, CPI, Print , Scroll etc ae also available. They can also be deployed effectively for Corona Control measures , being the largest repository of advisors to government on the subject.

  15. I am sure military must be kept on standby and they must have started planning and preparing themselves for contingency when pressed into service to the Nation whenever called.
    We just admire our political leadership that they have not panicked and called military immediately or prematurely as had been in practice in the past. Instead using the expertise and capabilities of civil authorities, their infrastructure and resources right down to village administration to manage and control the situation and military resources where possible being used selectively without overstretching them from their primary task.
    Am sure they must have kept military ready to be pressed into service if situation demands and when called military resources are fresh (not exhausted due to premature engagement ) in support of civil authorities to bring normalcy .

  16. If it was spread in the army then who is responsible, for the deaths. Our army is more needed than the citizens.

  17. You are ignorant, Army is not required to fight coronavirus. May be they can help medically but other services are redundant and costs tax payer money which is crucial at this time.

    Also,the situation in Italy , Spain and China is worst which is not in India. Coming to US , it’s not army. They are called National guard, who are there to provide civil and medical services to affected areas like NY and California.
    Stop posting bullshit article like this , this is inimical to ordinary citizens mental health and fundamental rights. Small businesses are losing and are hungry. Deployment of military forces will only make the situation worse.

  18. No denying the fact that present times are trying ones and all agencies should chip in with their full might. Army just can’t stay away.
    But, the larger question is how long can the nation be milking the AF thus. AF are called in too often, even while there are dedicated ministries/trained workforce avaiable to take care of their respective domains.
    Is calling in AF the only panacea? If so, it is sad. Why then have power hungry politicians, lackadaisical bureaucracy and corrupt police at all. Or, make them subservient to AF.
    A politically neutral view.

  19. And then , when this war is won and the military is down and decimated having fought the virus war, we will deploy you to fight at the border with your stupid pen… Why must the military be clearing up the mess everyone else should be cleaning up, every time.. And then be reduced to insignificance.. I admit, the military will always rise to the occasion when demanded, but then why don’t you sir a piece on the lack of funds, armaments, policy paralysis and the steady decline in status that had laid low too morale. Send every two big journalist who can put pen to paper finds salvation in commenting about the armed forces, as though the courts weren’t enough….

    • You must be joking. As these modi hater writers can’t do any thing good, they are passing time by writing such no-head-no-tail article. Just don’t read posts from these traitors. Read posts from PTI and ANI i.e. not ThePrint sponsored authors.

  20. A timeline of how China misled the world on coronavirus outbreak
    5 min read . 07:17 AM IST
    ANI
    The virus, which has originated in central China’s Hubei Province has claimed more than 20,000 lives so far
    With 10,000 deaths in Europe alone, it has now become an epicentre of the deadly virus
    Topics
    Coronavirus

    WASHINGTON : The coronavirus or COVID-19 has brought life to a near standstill in almost every part of the world. The virus, which has originated in central China’s Hubei Province has claimed more than 20,000 lives so far and continues to adversely affect more than 150 countries globally.

    However, the impact could be lowered had China been more transparent about the virus outbreak in the beginning.

    The first case of COVID-19 was reported from Hubei’s Wuhan city in December last year and has affected half a million people till now. With 10,000 deaths in Europe alone, it has now become an epicentre of the deadly virus.

    An article in American magazine ‘National Review’ highlights how China withheld information that proved detrimental against the COVID-19 fight. The coronavirus that jumps from an animal species to a human being probably began at the Chinese ‘wet market.’

    Here is a detailed timeline of China’s coronavirus coverup.

    On December 1, the symptom onset date of the first patient identified. Five days after illness onset, his 53-year-old wife who had no known history of exposure to the market also presented with pneumonia and was hospitalized in the isolation ward.

    It wasn’t until the second week of December, the Wuhan doctors were finding cases that indicated the virus was spreading from one human to another.

    On December 25, Chinese medical staff in two hospitals in Wuhan were found to be suspected of contracting viral pneumonia and were quarantined. Later, hospitals in the Wuhan witnessed an “exponential” increase in the number of cases in late December that cannot be linked back to the Huanan Seafood Wholesale Market.

    Whistleblower doctor Li Wenliang warned a group of other doctors about a possible outbreak of an illness that resembled “severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS)”. He urged them to take protective measures against infection.

    On December 31, the Wuhan Municipal Health Commission declared that their investigation has not found “any obvious human-to-human transmission and no medical staff infection.”

    China contacted the World Health Organization (WHO) three weeks after doctors first started noticing the cases.

    At the beginning of January, summons issued to Li Wenliang by the Wuhan Public Security Bureau accusing the doctor of “spreading rumours.”

    On January 3, Dr Li signed a statement at a police station acknowledging his “misdemeanor” and promising not to commit further “unlawful acts.” China’s National Health Commission ordered institutions not to publish any information related to the unknown disease.

    On the same day, the Hubei Provincial Health Commission ordered to stop testing samples from Wuhan related to the new disease and destroyed all existing samples.

    The Wuhan Municipal Health Commission released another statement, reiterating that preliminary investigations have shown “no clear evidence of human-to-human transmission and no medical staff infections.”

    59 people in the central city of Wuhan have been sickened by a “pneumonia-like illness”, as per a report by The New York Times published on January 6. On the same day, the Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention issued a level 1 travel watch. It advised travellers to Wuhan to avoid contact with ‘living or dead animals, animal markets, and sick people.’

    On January 8, Chinese medical authorities claim to have identified the virus, reiterating that it still found “no clear evidence of human-to-human transfer”.

    On January 11, the Wuhan City Health Commission released Q&A sheet emphasizing that most of the unexplained viral pneumonia cases in Wuhan have a history of exposure to the South China seafood market and “no clear evidence of human-to-human transmission has been found.”

    Dr Li Wenliang was hospitalized on January 12. He started coughing and developed a fever after unknowingly treating a patient with the coronavirus. Later, Wenliang’s condition deteriorated so badly that he was admitted to the intensive care unit and was given oxygen support.

    On January 13, the first case of novel coronavirus was reported outside China involving a 61-year-old Chinese woman in Thailand, who had visited Wuhan.

    However, Thailand’s Ministry of Public Health said the woman had not visited the Wuhan seafood market and had come down with a fever on January 5. The woman had visited a different, smaller market in Wuhan, in which live and freshly slaughtered animals were sold.

    On January 14, the World Health Organization in its report stated: “Preliminary investigations conducted by the Chinese authorities have found no clear evidence of human-to-human transmission of the novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV) identified in Wuhan, China.”

    On January 15, Japan reported its first case of coronavirus and its Health Ministry said the patient had not visited any seafood markets in China.

    The Wuhan Municipal Health Commission in a statement said that the possibility of “limited human-to-human transmission” cannot be ruled out.

    Despite the fact that Wuhan doctors knew that the virus is “contagious”, city authorities allow 40,000 families to gather and share home-cooked food in a Lunar New Year banquet, as per the article in National Review.

    On January 19, the Chinese National Health Commission declared the virus “still preventable and controllable”.

    A day later, the head of China’s national health commission team investigating the outbreak, confirmed that two cases of infection in China’s Guangdong province had been caused by “human-to-human transmission and medical staff had been infected”.

    On January 21, the CDC announced the first case of the coronavirus in the US. The patient had returned from China six days ago.

    On January 22, a WHO delegation conducted a field visit to Wuhan and concluded, “deployment of the new test kit nationally suggests that human-to-human transmission is taking place in Wuhan.”

    Nearly two months after the first case of the virus was reported, Chinese authorities announced their ‘first steps for a quarantine of Wuhan.’ By this time, a significant number of Chinese citizens have traveled abroad as “asymptomatic, oblivious carriers”.

    Dr Wenliang tested positive for coronavirus on February 1 and died six days later.

    This story has been published from a wire agency feed without modifications to the text. Only the headline has been changed.

  21. Fcc
    A timeline of how China misled the world on coronavirus outbreak
    5 min read . 07:17 AM IST
    ANI
    The virus, which has originated in central China’s Hubei Province has claimed more than 20,000 lives so far
    With 10,000 deaths in Europe alone, it has now become an epicentre of the deadly virus
    Topics
    Coronavirus

    WASHINGTON : The coronavirus or COVID-19 has brought life to a near standstill in almost every part of the world. The virus, which has originated in central China’s Hubei Province has claimed more than 20,000 lives so far and continues to adversely affect more than 150 countries globally.

    However, the impact could be lowered had China been more transparent about the virus outbreak in the beginning.

    The first case of COVID-19 was reported from Hubei’s Wuhan city in December last year and has affected half a million people till now. With 10,000 deaths in Europe alone, it has now become an epicentre of the deadly virus.

    An article in American magazine ‘National Review’ highlights how China withheld information that proved detrimental against the COVID-19 fight. The coronavirus that jumps from an animal species to a human being probably began at the Chinese ‘wet market.’

    Here is a detailed timeline of China’s coronavirus coverup.

    On December 1, the symptom onset date of the first patient identified. Five days after illness onset, his 53-year-old wife who had no known history of exposure to the market also presented with pneumonia and was hospitalized in the isolation ward.

    It wasn’t until the second week of December, the Wuhan doctors were finding cases that indicated the virus was spreading from one human to another.

    On December 25, Chinese medical staff in two hospitals in Wuhan were found to be suspected of contracting viral pneumonia and were quarantined. Later, hospitals in the Wuhan witnessed an “exponential” increase in the number of cases in late December that cannot be linked back to the Huanan Seafood Wholesale Market.

    Whistleblower doctor Li Wenliang warned a group of other doctors about a possible outbreak of an illness that resembled “severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS)”. He urged them to take protective measures against infection.

    On December 31, the Wuhan Municipal Health Commission declared that their investigation has not found “any obvious human-to-human transmission and no medical staff infection.”

    China contacted the World Health Organization (WHO) three weeks after doctors first started noticing the cases.

    At the beginning of January, summons issued to Li Wenliang by the Wuhan Public Security Bureau accusing the doctor of “spreading rumours.”

    On January 3, Dr Li signed a statement at a police station acknowledging his “misdemeanor” and promising not to commit further “unlawful acts.” China’s National Health Commission ordered institutions not to publish any information related to the unknown disease.

    On the same day, the Hubei Provincial Health Commission ordered to stop testing samples from Wuhan related to the new disease and destroyed all existing samples.

    The Wuhan Municipal Health Commission released another statement, reiterating that preliminary investigations have shown “no clear evidence of human-to-human transmission and no medical staff infections.”

    59 people in the central city of Wuhan have been sickened by a “pneumonia-like illness”, as per a report by The New York Times published on January 6. On the same day, the Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention issued a level 1 travel watch. It advised travellers to Wuhan to avoid contact with ‘living or dead animals, animal markets, and sick people.’

    On January 8, Chinese medical authorities claim to have identified the virus, reiterating that it still found “no clear evidence of human-to-human transfer”.

    On January 11, the Wuhan City Health Commission released Q&A sheet emphasizing that most of the unexplained viral pneumonia cases in Wuhan have a history of exposure to the South China seafood market and “no clear evidence of human-to-human transmission has been found.”

    Dr Li Wenliang was hospitalized on January 12. He started coughing and developed a fever after unknowingly treating a patient with the coronavirus. Later, Wenliang’s condition deteriorated so badly that he was admitted to the intensive care unit and was given oxygen support.

    On January 13, the first case of novel coronavirus was reported outside China involving a 61-year-old Chinese woman in Thailand, who had visited Wuhan.

    However, Thailand’s Ministry of Public Health said the woman had not visited the Wuhan seafood market and had come down with a fever on January 5. The woman had visited a different, smaller market in Wuhan, in which live and freshly slaughtered animals were sold.

    On January 14, the World Health Organization in its report stated: “Preliminary investigations conducted by the Chinese authorities have found no clear evidence of human-to-human transmission of the novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV) identified in Wuhan, China.”

    On January 15, Japan reported its first case of coronavirus and its Health Ministry said the patient had not visited any seafood markets in China.

    The Wuhan Municipal Health Commission in a statement said that the possibility of “limited human-to-human transmission” cannot be ruled out.

    Despite the fact that Wuhan doctors knew that the virus is “contagious”, city authorities allow 40,000 families to gather and share home-cooked food in a Lunar New Year banquet, as per the article in National Review.

    On January 19, the Chinese National Health Commission declared the virus “still preventable and controllable”.

    A day later, the head of China’s national health commission team investigating the outbreak, confirmed that two cases of infection in China’s Guangdong province had been caused by “human-to-human transmission and medical staff had been infected”.

    On January 21, the CDC announced the first case of the coronavirus in the US. The patient had returned from China six days ago.

    On January 22, a WHO delegation conducted a field visit to Wuhan and concluded, “deployment of the new test kit nationally suggests that human-to-human transmission is taking place in Wuhan.”

    Nearly two months after the first case of the virus was reported, Chinese authorities announced their ‘first steps for a quarantine of Wuhan.’ By this time, a significant number of Chinese citizens have traveled abroad as “asymptomatic, oblivious carriers”.

    Dr Wenliang tested positive for coronavirus on February 1 and died six days later.

    This story has been published from a wire agency feed without modifications to the text. Only the headline has been changed.

  22. Dear author
    The Indian army will assist in whatever possible manner whenever asked by the government. However is army the only option left. Doesn’t the country have enough infrastructure and manpower to fight with this situation available in the civil domain. The military resources should be used as the last resort when everything else have failed as they have a task at hand which cannot be given second priority come what may. Until and unless the enlightened author has the assurance to give so.

  23. Dear author
    Military will do assist in whatever manner possible whenever the govt asks for.
    However, is military the only thing left, doesn’t this hugh country has manpower and infrastructure available in the civil domain to fight with this crisis. The defence forces should be looked as the last resort when everything else have failed as they already have a task at hand which can’t be given a second priority come what may. If otherwise the enlightened author can give assurance of the same.

  24. I have been saying the same thing. Bring the military inside india. The government should have done this 45 days ago. I’m really scared bcoz i know what follows next COVID19. God save us & forgive us for our mistakes

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