Combating COVID–19 through India’s Armed Forces and CBRN Strategy: A weapon to neutralize the invisible enemy; By D.S. Murugan Yadav

The so-called “Wuhan virus” has claimed almost two lakh lives and left almost two million people to suffer since its origin from a wet market in Hubei province. It has been 4 months, the virus has left the whole world to suffer and impose severe actions and lock-down. The COVID-19 (Coronavirus) is an insidious enemy, for whom we do not have any weapon in our weapon arsenal to neutralize this unseen enemy.

The million-dollar question at the moment is that “Are we ready to face this deadly virus and the catastrophic consequences caused by it”. The best possible answer available for this question at this imbroglio situation is “Maybe!” or in a positive approach “We will!”. This is mainly because, during a Pandemic situation, People and the media propagate and emphasize the public health system and government’s measures to curb the pandemic situation. 

The Government of India (GOI) has been proactive in handling this pandemic situation. It has initiated several measures such as imposing sever lock-downs, practicing social distancing, streamlining the Public distribution system (PDS), providing economic packages for the poor, etc. The strategies that have been chalked out to combat the outbreak of diseases have been limited to two spheres, one of law enforcement/national defense and two in the area of Public health. These strategies are evolved from past experiences. India has been infected with diseases like SARS (Severe acute respiratory syndrome), Dengue, Chikungunya, Malaria, Influenza H1N1 (Swine flu) and bird flu, etc. SARS and COVID-19 both the viruses belong to the same family of Coronavirus. Both SARS and COVD-19 origin were in China.

In India, the National Disaster Management Agency (NDMA) provides the NDMA guidelines for managing Bio disasters. These are the bible of Disaster management (DM) in India. They are designed to acquaint us with the basics of Bio Disaster management (BDM), in a balanced manner and give the information required by organizations to formulates systematic operation plans (SOPs) at various levels. They will be used for the preparation of national, state, and district DM plans, as a part of ‘all hazard’ DM plans. National disaster response force (NDRF) acts as a vital responder in implementing the CBRN strategy.

The CBRN (Chemical, Biological, Radiological and Nuclear) strategy envisages a set of doctrines that briefs us about the procedures to eradicate or neutralize and manage the possible threats of Chemical, Biological, Radiological and Nuclear attacks. The CBRN defense planning in India is based on CBRN model:

  1. Avoidance
  2. Detection
  3. Protection
  4. Decontamination
  5. Damage control/Consequence management

Deterrence against biological agents can also be achieved from a range of equipment and technology, including detectors and reconnaissance vehicles along with nanotechnology-based sensors, micro UAVs, dosimeters that can measure an individual’s or an object’s exposure to hazardous exposure in the environment. CBRN monitoring vehicles have been developed by the DRDO and manufactured by OFB.

The strategies are chalked out but to implement this strategy effectively, we have the armed forces of this nation. At times of crisis, it is the army that comes to the rescue of the people and the country. Moreover, it is the final solution available for any nation. The discipline and indomitable spirit of the armed forces play an effective role in curbing the pandemic situation and to overcome the dire consequences.

Even though it’s the NDRF that’s presently mandated for CBRN emergencies. Armed forces will continue to play a major role in combating COVID-19:

  1. Army has moved in to take over the COVID-19 quarantine facility at Narela, New Delhi.
  2. Six quarantine facility in Mumbai, Jaisalmer, Jodhpur, Hindon, Chennai. 15 other facilities on standby of approximately 7,000.
  3. 51 armed forces hospitals are preparing dedicated COVID-19 facilities including High dependency units and ICU beds.
  4. Five testing labs at armed forces hospitals made of the national grid.
  5. Six more hospitals to be equipped with the resources to begin COVID-19 testing.
  6. Special IAF flights have evacuated people and carried medical supplies
  7. 60 tonnes of stores airlifted by the IAF transport fleet to various parts of the country and 41 helicopters on standby.
  8. Six naval ships kept ready for providing humanitarian aids and assistance to neighboring countries. 
  9. Five medical teams on standby for deployment in the Maldives, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, Nepal, Bhutan, and Afghanistan.

The armed forces of the nation are the best solution available in this imbroglio situation. It can also be used for maintenance of law and order (law enforcement), crowd control and ensuring curfew in hotspots, evacuation of civilians from affected areas, ensuring the provision of essential supply of electricity and water, restoration of essential services, guarding quarantine locations and detention centers, etc. Definitely, with the indomitable spirit of the armed forces and government’s functioning, we can curb this deadly virus and can overcome the catastrophic effects caused by it.

Author’s Profile

Doing his graduation in Defense and Strategic Studies. His areas of interests are National Security, International Terrorism, International Relations, Cyber security, Artificial Intelligence, Indo-Pacific Region, Hoplology, Polemology and Military Intelligence. He is one of the dedicated researcher in our team.

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Published by The Viyug

Th Viyug (A Strategic & Defence Research Publication) is an digital and print media publication producing cutting edge analytical research papers, opinions, rebuttals and other forms of writings on various disciplines of international affairs.

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