A day after Chief of Defence Staff General Bipin Rawat announced that the military would pay its gratitude for coronavirus warriors on May 3, the Ministry of Defence has come out with a detailed programme of multiple events going to take place on Sunday. The events will begin with wreath laying at the Police Memorial in the national capital on behalf of all three service chiefs as a mark of respect towards the sacrifice by police and paramilitary forces.
Subsequently, the nation will witness flypasts by fighter and transport aircrafts of the Indian Air Force (IAF) at multiple locations. These aircrafts will cover major towns starting Srinagar to Thiruvananthapuram and Dibrugarh to Kutch. The helicopters from the IAF and the Indian Navy will fly over hospitals treating COVID-19 patients and shower petals as a tribute to the coronavirus warriors.
Over the national capital, the fighters and transport aircraft would fly between 10 am and 11 am. "Aerial salute from the Armed Forces will be flown as low as 500 metres so that everyone is able to witness the same from the safety of their homes," Colonel Aman Anand, spokesperson for the Indian Army said.
Military bands all over the country will visit various civil hospitals treating coronavirus patients.
In a statement, Colonel Anand said Naval helicopters would shower petals on hospitals at Mumbai, Goa, Kochi and Vizag between 10 am and 10:30 am.
Colonel Aman Anand said in the evening hours, Naval ships at sea on the coasts of Mumbai, Porbandar, Karwar, Vizag, Chennai, Kochi and Port Blair will light up and fire flares in solidarity.
In addition to the Navy, ships of the Indian Coast Guard will be seen at 24 places, including Porbandar, Okha, Ratnagiri, Dahanu, Murud, Goa, New Mangalore, Kavaratti, Karaikal, Chennai, Krishnapatnam, Nizamapatanam, Puducherry, Kakinada, Paradip, Gopalpur, Sagar Island, Port Blair, Diglipur, Mayabundur, Hut bay and Campbell Bay.
Kolkata-based Eastern Air command will fly the country's frontline fighter jet Sukhoi-20 over West Bengal assembly in Kolkata at 10:30 am on Sunday. Simultaneously, flower petal drops at Itanagar , Guwahati, Shillong and Kolkata will happen by military helicopters. "The flypast is subject to weather," a ministry official clarified.
"During the current crisis, it is the doctors, nurses, policemen, media, sanitation workers, delivery personnel, bank employees, government employees and local store owners who have put their lives on the line to ensure that we as a nation are protected and cared for adequately. These are the invisible hands which have held the country together in these challenging times. The armed forces wish to thank these proud Indians for their selfless service," statement by the ministry said.
The defence ministry added this was also to assure the nation that in spite of the coronavirus pandemic, the armed forces are fully prepared to address any type of threat that could emanate from land, sea or air and that "we shall continue to support the corona warriors and even step up support if need be."