Amid the prevailing gloom across the nation due to the coronavirus COVID-19 pandemic, the Indian Armed has decided to salute and show solidarity to the corona warriors in India on Sunday. As of 11.45 pm (IST) on May 2, the total number of coronavirus COVID-19 cases reached 37,776 with death toll mounting to 1,223 across the country.
On May 1, Chief of Defence Staff (CDS) General Bipin Rawat, in a brief with the tri-services chiefs, announced that the Indian Army, the Indian Air Force (IAF), and the Indian Navy will organise multiple events that will highlight the nation’s support towards the warriors.
The corona warriors include those who have been fighting the deadly pandemic in a bid to keep the citizens of India safe. They include the healthcare fraternity, hygiene and sanitation staff, medical staff, police personnel, and media personnel.
Events like flypast by fighter and transport aircraft of the IAF from Srinagar in Jammu and Kashmir to Thiruvananthapuram in Kerala, and from Dibrugarh in Assam to Kutch in Gujarat will take place on Sunday. The helicopters from IAF and Navy will shower flower petals on the hospitals treating coronavirus COVID-19 patients.
The Navy and Indian Coast Guard (ICG) will move ships in formations at sea at select locations while Army bands shall visit COVID-19 hospitals and play tunes outside the hospitals in an expression of gratitude to the corona warriors.
In Thiruvananthapuram, the Indian Coast Guard is preparing to illuminate their ships on Saturday and Sunday. At 10 am on Sunday, IAF helicopter will shower flower petals over two hospitals. In Gujarat, the South Western Air Command (SWAC) has planned two flower petal drop sorties over two hospitals in Ahmedabad and Gandhinagar between 9 am to 10 am.
The Navy at Porbandar has planned illumination of ships from 7.30 pm to 11.59 pm on both days. In Kolkata, a band has been planned at Victoria memorial for both Saturday and Sunday. The Army Uttar Maharashtra and Gujrat (UMANG) Sub Area HQs Nagpur has planned wreath-laying at Police Memorial for Sunday morning, followed by presenting of sweets to doctors and healthcare staff at two locations–Govt Medical College and Indira Gandhi Medical College.
On Sunday morning, the Naval Officer-in-Charge (Andhra Pradesh) will be visiting designated COVID-19 hospital at Visakhapatnam and felicitate the medical fraternity for their efforts. This will be followed by a naval helicopter from INS Dega showering flower petals on the hospital treating COVID-19 patients at Visakhapatnam. Two Indian Navy ships will also be illuminating at anchorage from 7.30 pm to midnight on Sunday at Visakhapatnam coast to pay homage to these COVID-19 warriors.
The band display on Saturday at Army Base Hospital will take place. The petal showering by the IAF at the Command Hospital and KGMU in Lucknow will be held on Sunday. A few other details are still being finalised.
The Eastern Air Command is also making full preparations to salute the COVID-19 warriors. A Sukhoi Su-30MKI flypast over Assam assembly will take place around 10.30 am. The showering of flower petals at COVID-19 hospitals in Itanagar (Arunachal Pradesh), Guwahati (Assam), Shillong (Meghalaya) and Kolkata (West Bengal) will be done at 10.30 am. In Kolkata, the shower will take place at the IDCBG hospital, a COVID-19 hospital, between 10 am to 11 am. The band display of the IAF will take place in Guwahati and the flypast is subject to weather conditions.
A programme will be held by the Navy at Mumbai and Goa saluting the corona warriors. Five Naval ships have been planned by Western Naval Command (WNC) for illumination from 7.30 pm to 11.59 pm off the Gateway of India, Mumbai. They would prominently display banners “India Salutes Corona Warriors”. They will sound the ship’s siren and fire a flare at 7.30 at anchorage.
Additionally, the Naval Air stations at Goa would display human chain messages, “India Salutes Corona Warriors”, on the runway to honour the corona warriors. Aerial photography for the same would also be undertaken. However, social distancing norms will be ensured during the activity.
The Indian Navy aviation assets would undertake showering of petals by helicopters on COVID-19 hospitals–Mumbai’s Kasturba Gandhi Hospital and INHS Asvini, Colaba. The activity is tentatively planned to be undertaken between 10 am-10.30 am.
On May 1, CDS General Rawat, accompanied by Army Chief General MM Naravane, Chief of Navy Admiral Karambir Singh, IAF Chief Air Chief Marshal RKS Bhadauria decided to acknowledge the efforts of the corona warriors and vowed to continue the support of front-line warriors to them in the coming days.
He said, ‘the corona warriors’ risked and are still risking their lives every day to ensure that basic amenities such as electricity and water are delivered to everyone, that the streets are clean, that basic food items are available, that no patient is returned untreated, that law and order is maintained and that Indian citizens stranded abroad are brought back and cared for.
“These warriors have ensured that India keeps on fighting this pandemic. We salute these warriors and their efforts and wish them the best of health. We are grateful for their sacrifice and their efforts in fighting COVID-19, knowing fully well the dangers that they face,” he said.