India is perhaps facing the biggest humanitarian challenge since the Independence because of coronavirus pandemic and the Indian Navy will collectively rise to confront the adversity facing the nation, Navy Chief Admiral Karambir Singh said on Wednesday.
In a message to Navy personnel, Admiral Singh said the Navy will step up its outreach in extending medical assistance as the pandemic is spreading to rural India and people residing in those areas are in need of help.
“This is an unprecedented situation for us. This is perhaps the biggest humanitarian challenge to the country to date since Independence,” he said.
“I think, possibly, there is no one among us, who doesn’t have someone in the family, or someone very close to us, who has not been COVID positive, or hospitalised, or worse still, succumbed to the disease,” the Navy Chief said.
The chief of naval staff said that the force has to contribute back to the nation with its “full might” in these “difficult times”.
He also noted that nearly 80 per cent of the uniformed Naval personnel have received their two vaccine shots due to which the force is relatively safe.
“No one knows when the pandemic will end. But I can say, with utmost confidence that our courage, our determination, will never end. We will collectively rise as ‘Team Navy’ in this adversity, and do our best for the nation, for the Navy and for our communities,” Admiral Singh said.
“I am proud of what has been achieved in the last few weeks, especially by our healthcare teams and our operational units. I look forward to continuing this effort and supporting our country in these difficult times,” he said.
The Navy chief said all the Navy teams are putting their shoulder to the wheel to support the national effort.
“At this time, I see two priorities for the Navy; first, to contribute fully to the national effort, and second, to protect our communities, our defence civilians, our ex-servicemen, and all their families in every way,” he said.
The Navy has been vigorously supporting civilian authorities in several states to deal with the fast-spreading coronavirus cases, including through setting up of dedicated health facilities to treat people with COVID-19.
The Navy has already launched a mega operation to bring liquid medical oxygen from several countries in the Persian Gulf and southeast Asia.
“The pandemic is spreading to rural areas and they are in need of help. Our outlying units could adopt a village and render assistance just like INS Chilka has done,” he said.
Complimenting the naval personnel for their untiring efforts to help the nation deal with the crisis, the Navy chief said he believed the forces can do even more, and added that its contribution will increase in the coming days.
“Our nation has tremendous faith in its armed forces, and it is our duty to live up to the expectations of our citizens,” he said.
At the same time, Admiral Singh said the medical infrastructure of the Navy is under stress.
“Our medical and nursing officers and medical staff have really been at the forefront, braving this difficult situation. There has been no respite for them over the last one year, and they have worked round-the-clock to manage patients and provide the best healthcare possible,” he said.
“All of us are proud of their efforts, their dedication,” the Navy chief said.
Admiral Singh said options are being explored for the vaccination of family members of the armed forces personnel.
“In terms of our families, we are exploring options for their vaccination. We are looking at ways to commence early vaccination,” he said.
At the same time, he stressed the need to look at the opportunity to utilise the “state-sponsored” vaccination initiative.
“I would like to express my deepest condolences to all who have lost their near and dear ones. My heart goes out to each and every one of you. Let us, as the naval community, remain strong, and help each other, and the nation, in this challenging time,” he said.