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Indian generals denounce government for denying military aid to its own people
Samuel Rajkumar / Reuters NEW DELHI – With India ravaged by an unprecedented second wave of the COVID-19 virus – and its health system on its knees – some public health officials and former military officials express outrage at the refusal apparent government to use the full “The army is not used to the maximum”, even if it has “enormous capabilities” to mitigate the current disaster, Deependra Singh Hooda, former head of the Nordic strategic command of the Indian Army For weeks, experts have pleaded with the government, urging it to call on the military to help tackle a health crisis never seen before in modern India’s history. here, the deputy chief minister of the country’s capital, Delhi – which faces the worst COVID situation in India – asked the defense minister to lend the services of the armed forces to help him put in place and manage the establishments of e health COVID-19. But the request was turned down, even after the local government contacted Delhi’s high court, which said Indian forces were in demand. Why Biden’s push for vaccine patent waivers won’t save India? that the military set up a few hospitals and provided limited quantities. oxygen supplies, most forces are not involved even as the country’s health system is on the brink of collapse. The Indian Armed Forces have approximately 13,000 officers who are medical professionals and 100,000 other medical support personnel, whose expertise could save countless lives. âWe are going through an emergency. The network and infrastructure of the armed forces must be leveraged, âpublic health expert Anant Bhan told The Daily Beast. “This will minimize the loss of human life.” The demand is resumed after senior US public health official Dr Anthony Fauci suggested last week that India should mobilize all of its resources, including the armed forces, to deal with the situation. For India, the military may be the last resort. 4,205 Indians died from the virus on Wednesday and 348,421 tested positive for COVID, bringing the total number of confirmed cases so far in the country to 2.5 million. The total death toll climbed to 25,8351 – which experts say is a massive undercount. Hospitals across the country have been operating at full capacity for weeks and hundreds of people have died because they did not receive oxygen on time.The downward spiral shows no signs of leveling off any time soon, with new variants totaling the intensity of India’s second wave. , and the prospect of a third wave that will likely follow. The virus is also rapidly invading rural areas of India – home to 65% of the country’s population – where health systems are even worse than in already overwhelmed cities. “This is the first time that we have found ourselves in a situation like this,” General Ved Prakash Malik, former head of the Indian army, told the Daily Beast. âThe civil administration has the possibility of using the services of the armed forces. Besides medical services, engineering services can be used to set up a rapid infrastructure. Even though most of India’s population still struggles to get a first dose, India’s 1.5 million armed members were the first to be vaccinated. This is one of the reasons why experts insist that their services be used quickly. âThe army is trained to deal with such situations,â General Hooda said, âwe have seen this in the past, whenever there has been a crisis. [help]. Not only are they trained, but they are very well equipped to deal with the crisis. Hooda says the government has mainly focused on using the military’s health services, but there is much more that could be done. âThe military has enormous engineering skills to build infrastructure,â he said. “If you need to build infrastructure, like hospitals and other medical facilities in rural areas, the military can do it as quickly as possible.” Experts also blame the lack of coordination between civil authorities for exacerbating the crisis in the country, and say it has created enormous panic and stress among the public. One of the key areas, on which most health officials and former military commanders agree, is the need for a centralized communications system so that essential medical supplies are transported and used efficiently. âFor communications, the military can set up war rooms and certain skills of the commanders who manage these war rooms can help tremendously,â said General Malik, who was the head of the Indian army during the war. war with Pakistan in 1999. General Hooda agrees. centerâ¦ we have the India-wide Movement Control Organization (MCO) which is used in wars to mobilize and monitor the military, âHooda said, adding that this MCO could be used to track essential resources like oxygen tankers. Besides engineering and communications, a large fleet of armed forces could also be employed to transport medical supplies. âThe armed forces have the capacity to create 100 field hospitals with 100 beds each,â Harcharanjit Singh Panag, a former lieutenant in the Indian army, wrote for The Print. âWith the help of private doctors, medical students and additional medical equipment, many other temporary facilities can be made operational in a short time. It is these resources that can be layered on civilian hospitals to deal with the overload. Some believe India is not using the services of the military because it would be embarrassing for the civilian government – an acknowledgment that they were not. able to handle the situation. Another reason cited is tensions at India’s borders with China and Pakistan, which makes authorities reluctant to transfer troops stationed there. Right-wing demagogue lets COVID ravage his people [the civilian government] is not in a position to do that, âGeneral Hooda said. “Second, it is also said that we need the preservation of the strength [at our] Last year, the Indian military canceled its border exercise in Ladakh due to the first wave of the novel coronavirus. But around the same time, violent skirmishes took place when Chinese troops reportedly entered Indian territory. The two countries reinforced their positions with tens of thousands of troops, and an altercation ensued, killing 20 Indians and an unknown number of Chinese nationals. Given the intensity of the crisis, it is clear to much of India that there is no choice but to bring in the armed forces if the government of Prime Minister Narendra Modi wants quickly take control of the situation. “The point is, when you face some kind of national emergency, this idea of ââpreserving forces has to be put on the back burner.” Hooda said. “Once the army arrives, if nothing else, it might bring some hope to the people.” For more, check out The Daily Beast. Get our best items delivered to your inbox every day. Register now! Daily Beast Membership: Beast Inside delves deeper into the stories that matter to you. Learn more.