Nation has to work together to contain coronavirus epidemic: Army chief

Nation has to work together to contain coronavirus epidemic: Army chief

A parade to mark the 200th-year celebrations of the Bombay Engineer Group, also known as the Bombay Sappers, was reviewed by Army chief General Manoj Naravane in Pune on Saturday. (Express photo by Pavan Khengre)

The entire nation will have to get together to make sure the threat of coronavirus is contained at the lowest level, Army chief General Manoj Mukund Naravane said in Pune on Saturday, adding that the Army was playing its part in the effort.

General Naravane made the statement while speaking to the media on the sidelines of a parade organised to mark the 200th anniversary of the Bombay Sappers of the Corps of Engineers of the Indian Army.

When asked about the quarantine facility set up by the Army near Manesar in Haryana for Indians being evacuated from China in the wake of the novel coronavirus (nCoV) outbreak, General Naravane said, “The coronavirus epidemic has achieved global proportions. We are all seized of this major threat... to that end, the whole nation has to get together and put in whatever measures required to make sure that this threat and epidemic is contained at the lowest level. And for that we are playing our part.”

The Indian Army, with the help of the Indo-Tibetan Border Police (ITBP), has set up the quarantine facility in Manesar to keep Indian citizens, evacuated from Hubei province in China, under observation. An Air India plane carrying 324 Indian nationals from Wuhan reached New Delhi on Saturday morning.

Speaking about the role of engineers in warfare, the Army chief said, “In the future, warfare is going to be even more technical and network-centric in nature. Not only engineers but all of us have to keep changing and adapting to the changing nature of warfare. To that end, I feel, the engineers have a very big role to play in the future. They will have to absorb technologies and move with the times.”

Asked about the role of engineers in development of infrastructure in border areas, General Naravane said, “Capacity and capability-building is an ongoing process. We will continue improving our capacities in the future also. Wherever construction works are involved, whether it is of roads or bridges or barracks, engineers will have a major role to play.”

Bicentenary celebrations of Bombay Engineer Group continue, parade held

The Bombay Engineer Group, also known as the Bombay Sappers, is celebrating 200 years of service in the Army. To mark the occasion, a Bicentenary Commemoration Parade was held on Saturday, and it was reviewed by Army Chief General M M Naravane, who is also the Honorary Colonel Commandant of the Bombay Sappers.

The parade paid tribute to the troops of Bombay Sappers, Sikh Light Infantry and Maratha Light Infantry Regiments and symbolised the affiliation of Bombay Sappers with Indian naval ship Magar and 30 Squadron of the Indian Air Force. The parade was commanded by Colonel Sumeet Vashishth. Army’s Engineer-in-Chief Lt Gen S K Shrivastava, Commandant of the College of Engineering Lt Gen Michael Mathews and Commandant Bombay Engineer Group and Centre Brigadier M J Kumar attended the parade, along with several senior serving officers and veterans of the Bombay Sappers.

Earlier, while addressing the troops, General Naravane, who is from the Sikh Light Infantry, said, “History is a witness and it is also a matter of pride that Sikh Light Infantry and Bombay Sappers have a very old relationship.... Our religious and cultural similarities bring us together. The jawans have fought many wars together in the past and this bond continues even today...”.

During the ceremony, Rajeshwari Rane, wife of late Major Rama Raghoba Rane, presented the Param Vir Chakra awarded to him to the Bombay Sappers. Late Major Rane was decorated with the highest military honour for clearing roadblocks and anti-tank mines in a sector in Jammu and Kashmir in spite of being injured in mortar firing during the Indo-Pakistan war in April 1948.