NEW DELHI: Nearly 20,000 Indian military personnel were infected by the novel coronavirus, with the highest number of those affected being in the Indian Army which had over 16,000 cases.

This information was disclosed by Minister of State for Defence Shripad Naik. The minister, who himself had tested positive for covid-19, said this in response to a parliament question on Wednesday.

The Indian Army reported 32 deaths due to covid-19, while the number was casualties in the Indian Air Force was three. The Indian Navy did not have any deaths.

Naik said 16,758 cases were reported in the Army, 1,365 in the Navy and 1,716 in the Air Force.

According to existing rules, there is no compensation for deaths occurring due to infectious diseases while in service, the minister said.

“However, all deaths while in service are awarded terminal benefits,” he added.

Covid-19 has been a major concern in the armed forces, resulting in a number of precautions being taken to ensure the Indian military was able to cope with the challenge.

In March, the Indian Army logged its first case of covid19 in Leh when a soldier reported sick. Subsequently, other cases surfaced.

Defence Secretary Ajay Kumar had tested positive for covid19 in June.

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