Indian Army Suspends Movement in Military Establishments Across the Country Due to COVID-19
12:11 GMT 16.04.2020
New Delhi (Sputnik): The order to suspend movement in military establishments comes while Indian and Pakistani forces are engaged in a massive artillery fire-fight that has been ongoing since 6 April. Clashes between the two continued on Thursday as the Indian Army claimed that there had been unprovoked firing by Pakistan at the Line of Control.
Amid the extended lockdown across the country, the Indian Army has issued strict guidelines to suspend movements across the military establishments, cantonments, formation headquarters, and units until 19 April 2020.
The army said that only personnel linked with the provision of essential services will be allowed to move in this time period. Nevertheless, the army made it clear that this instruction will not hinder any operational tasks of the formations or units, which will be conducted with the requisite strength.
"Within the army HQ, only the military operations, military intelligence, Operational Logistics and Strategic Movement branches will function, to carry out operational and COVID-19 related tasks", the instruction issued by the army reads, while adding that the remaining branches will work from home and any specific task can be handled on a case-by-case basis.
The army also asked the offices in the army headquarters, command headquarters and formation headquarters to work at only 50% strength until 3 May – when India's 40 days of unprecedented lockdown are likely to be ended.
"All training activities and temporary duties will remain suspended till 3 May", the instructions said, while adding that directions on actions to be taken post 3 May will be issued upon receipt of fresh orders from the government.
Earlier, on Wednesday, the tally of infected persons in the army of 1.3 million has risen to five as another person was infected with COVID-19 while treating patients in an army medical hospital.
Meanwhile, massive firing at the Line of Control (the de-facto border between India and Pakistan) is underway between two south Asian rivals.
The Indian Army claimed that at about 0945 hours local time, Pakistan initiated an unprovoked ceasefire violation in the Qasba and Kirni Sectors by firing with small arms. Also, at 1145 hours, Pakistan resorted to another ceasefire violation along the Line of Control in the Nowshera Sector on Thursday.
Indian Army chief M.M. Naravane will be on a two-day visit to the Line of Control beginning Thursday and review operational preparedness with local commanders.
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