A senior Navy officer said that “Navy's heavy lift capable ships are ready for bringing in Covid-19 supplies and equipment from the IOR and South East, East Asian countries”.
Even as the Indian Air Force continues to transport oxygen containers, not just within the country, but also from other nations, the Navy has been put on standby and could be used to bring necessary equipment from littoral nations in the Indian Ocean Region.
A senior Navy officer said that “Navy’s heavy lift capable ships are ready for bringing in Covid-19 supplies and equipment from the IOR and South East, East Asian countries”.
While a final decision on the matter is awaited, the officer said that the Navy’s assets are already on standby.
The Navy already has deployment in the Gulf region, and for any equipment that might be required to be brought to India from there, the officer said, those vessels can be used.
Similarly, in the Southeast Asian region as well, the deployed ships can be dispatched as soon as the need arises. The ships that are already deployed in those regions can reach India along with any required equipment anything between 36 to 72 hours, he said.
The officer said that several Navy ships, including destroyers, frigates and fleet support ships, are already in the Arabian Sea participating in Exercise Varuna along with the French Navy. After the exercise ends on Tuesday, the vessels can be sent to transport any necessary equipment from the Persian Gulf region, including Oxygen containers.
“At this moment,” the officer said, “we need all hands on deck.” So while those vessels can be used to transport the equipment needed immediately, he added, specialised vehicles can be sent to bring the heavy load equipment.
The Navy mentioned on Tuesday that INS Sharda completed the first phase of transfer of Covid-19 supplies including Oxygen cylinders to four islands—Agatti, Andrott, Kadmat and Kavaratti—in Lakshadweep, and the next consignment was scheduled for departure on Tuesday.
Additionally, the Navy said, its “IN LCU 55 arrived in Port Blair” on Monday carrying Oxygen cylinders and Multi-feed Oxygen Manifolds from Visakhapatnam to cater for exigencies.
The Air Force had been pressed into service to transport medical equipment, and more importantly Oxygen containers starting last week. Till Tuesday the Air Force had transported over 40 containers within the country, and had brought 20 Oxygen containers from Singapore, Dubai and Bangkok.
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