India’s armed forces will on Sunday conduct fly-pasts, illuminate ships at sea, shower petals on hospitals and lay wreaths on memorials for police officers to thank all the workers who are on the frontline of India’s fight against the coronavirus pandemic.

Chief of Defence Staff General Bipin Rawat, along with the three service chiefs, held a press conference on Friday evening to announce the plan. All the three forces will pay a tribute to India’s Covid-19 warriors in different ways. “We wish to convey our gratitude to each and every corona warrior and all the citizens of our nation,” Rawat said. “On May 3, there will be some special activities as a gesture of special gratitude by all three forces.”

“The Army will conduct mountain band displays along some of the COVID hospitals in almost every district of our country,” Rawat said. “The force will also lay wreaths at the police memorial on May 3 in support of our police forces.”

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The Indian Air Force will conduct flypasts from Srinagar to Trivandrum and another one starting from Dibrugarh in Assam to Kutch in Gujarat, Rawat added.

The Indian Navy will light up its warships to honour frontline workers. “The Navy will also have its warships deployed in formations in coastal areas in the evening on May 3,” Rawat said. Choppers belonging to the force will shower flowers on hospitals, he added.

Despite undertaking great personal risk, health workers on the frontline of India’s Covid-19 battle have faced repeated attacks and crippling shortage of personal protective equipment. The Centre now has made such attacks non-bailable offences, with hefty fines and imprisonment for up to seven years.

The number of coronavirus cases in India rose to 35,365 on Friday evening and the toll stood at 1,152. The nationwide lockdown to control the rapidly-spreading disease has been extended by two more weeks, till May 17.

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