Chief of the Army Staff General MM Naravane during a press conference, in New Delhi
Pic Credit : PTI

Indian Army chief General Manoj Mukund Naravane on Tuesday asserted the coronavirus pandemic is far from over citing the emergence of new variants across the world.

“I would like to highlight that during the ongoing pandemic situation, the Indian forces were fully engaged in government efforts to provide all necessary support. We reached the remotest parts of our country and provided them help to minimise the impact of the pandemic,” Gen Naravane said at PANEX-21, a disaster management exercise.

“A range of factors such as climate change, unplanned urbanisation, underdevelopment, poverty and threat of pandemics will result in an increased frequency, complexity and severity of disasters in the future,” Gen Naravane also said.

Attended by Bimstec countries—Bangladesh, Bhutan, Nepal, Sri Lanka, Myanmar, Thailand and India—the focus of the exercise will be on providing relief and fostering joint planning amid the ongoing Coronavirus pandemic.

#WATCH “Another issue I’d like to highlight…a new kind of warfare. If biological warfare is beginning to take shape, we need to put our act together & strengthen ourselves to ensure our nations aren’t affected by these viruses & diseases,” says CDS at PANEX-21 curtain-raiser pic.twitter.com/OlpYKduAFl— ANI (@ANI) December 7, 2021

Apart from Gen Naravane, minister of state for defence Ajay Bhat, chief of defence staff (CDS) General Bipin Rawat and the delegates of Bimstec will take part in the PANEX-21 exercise on disaster management which will be held in Pune from December 20-22.

Gen Rawat emphasised it was crucial for all nations to support each other if there’s a disaster in any of the nations. “If biological warfare is beginning to take shape, we need to put our act together and strengthen ourselves to ensure our nations aren’t affected by these viruses and diseases,” Rawat said during his address at the curtain-raiser, according to news agency ANI.

Gen Rawat said all nations need to be prepared amid the emergence of Omicron, Coronavirus’s new variant. “We see that now Omicron is there, whether it is going to mutate in other forms, we have to remain prepared for it,” Rawat said.

PANEX-21 is being held in the backdrop of the emergence of the Omicron variant which has sparked widespread concerns across the world. Even as information on the variant is scanty, scientists are fearing Omicron to be more dangerous than the Delta variant, which wreaked havoc in the previous waves of the coronavirus disease (Covid-19).