The Chief of Defence Staff General Bipin Rawat will address a press conference this evening, accompanied by the three serving military chiefs. The interaction with the media comes at a time when the whole country is under lockdown to battle the coronavirus pandemic. This is the first time the Chief of Defence Staff - a post created by the government to integrate the three wings of the armed forces and trim the weapons procurement process - will be speaking to the media, in the presence of the three service chiefs.
Last week, General Rawat had said at a time when the nation is fighting COVID-19, the defence services "must operate beyond the mandate to support the people and government in whatever way we can."
He had also said that "discipline and patience" had helped the defence services in checking the spreading of virus, adding that the novel coronavirus has affected Army, Air Force and Navy in a "limited manner".
The country has been under lockdown for six weeks since March 25; there are expected to be considerable relaxations for many districts from Monday, while restrictions will continue in the "red zone", or areas worst affected by COVID-19. The final decision on relaxing lockdown measures will be taken by PM Modi.
The number of coronavirus hotspots, or "red zones", across India has fallen by around 23 per cent in 15 days, the government said today, from 170 on April 15 to 130 on April 30. Seven major cities in the country, including national capital Delhi, are "red zones"; Mumbai and Delhi alone account for more than 10,000 cases between them.
India has seen over 35,000 coronavirus cases so far and recorded 1,147 deaths.