Ex-servicemen dismayed by CDS’ flypast

New Delhi, May 3 (AGENCIES) | Publish Date: 5/3/2020 12:14:14 PM IST

Chief of Defense Staff Bipin Rawat and three service chiefs’ announcement of IAF flypast on Friday, 1 May, was met with incredulity and surprise by ex-servicemen.

Amid the nationwide lockdown to curb the spread of the novel coronavirus, Chief of Defence Staff General Bipin Rawat and the three service chiefs addressed a press conference to express gratitude to the “COVID-19 warriors.”

Rawat announced that the Indian Air Force will conduct a flypast from Srinagar to Thiruvananthapuram and another one starting from Dibrugarh in Assam to Kutch in Gujarat. It’ll include both transport and fighter aircraft, he said.

While some ex-servicemen felt that this was an unnecessary display by the armed forces and a waste of precious resources, others suggested deploying resources to evacuate migrant workers who are stranded.

 General Birender Dhanoa (retd), remarked that he was “saddened and disappointed” by the move and asked why are the “Armed forces being used as the official cheer leaders to express gratitude (sic).”

Maj General Thapar (retd) felt an “inane announcement” like this could have been handled by the Ministry of Defence’s publicity division.

As an alternative, Lt Col Rohit Agarwal (Retd) suggested that a more constructive contribution of the armed forces could be achieved through “mobilising resources to assist in the movement of migrants back to their states.”

Capt KP Sanjeev Kumar, a former navy test pilot, writing for The Quint, stated that “to folks from a different military generation, the spectacle must have amused as much as it disappointed.”

“The statements made were largely political in nature,” Capt Kumar writes in his opinion piece.

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