Guwahati: India's Government has chosen to pay tribute to the 20 martyred jawans by dedicating the 1,000 bed Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel COVID Hospital, which became operational today, to their memory.
In this COVID-19 hospital dedicated to the memory of the martyrs, the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) will name the different wards after troops who lost their lives in the recent clashes in the icy terrains of the Galwan Valley.
This unique facility will have 1,000 beds with 250 Intensive Care Units (ICU), which will be operated exclusively by the personnel of the Armed Forces Medical Services.
The state-of-the-art hospital was set up in a record time of 12 days by the DRDO, the Union health and home ministries, the Delhi Government, as well as other industry players (such as TATA Sons).
Fighting the Covid-19 Pandemic and at the same time Honoring the Galwan Warriors. A Very Noble initiative by the Govt.#letsfightcoronatogether @SpokespersonMoD @MoHFW_INDIA @mygovindia @mygovassam @PIB_Guwahati @PIB_India pic.twitter.com/37fbfJNN5m— PRO GUWAHATI, MINISTRY OF DEFENCE, GOVT OF INDIA (@prodefgau) July 8, 2020
The ICU and Ventilator Ward in the hospital has been named as Col B Santosh Babu Ward, after the leader of the Bihar Regiment column which was killed in a clash with Chinese soldiers in the contested area in Ladakh.
Defence sources said that this is as much about fighting the Covid-19 pandemic on a war footing, as it is about honoring the fallenGalwan Warriors. The development of this facility has been termed as "a very noble initiative by the Government", by the defence PRO.
In late May, Chinese forces objected to Indian road construction in the Galwan River valley, which led to a rise in tensions between the two nations. According to Indian sources, melee fighting on 15-16 June resulted in the deaths of 20 Indian soldiers (including an officer) who had gone to check whether the Chinese had deserted an area as promised earlier. According to reports, 43 Chinese soldiers (including an officer) were also killed in the skirmish. Several news outlets stated that 10 Indian soldiers, including 4 officers, were taken captive and then released by the Chinese days after the clash, on June 18.
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