India's armed forces pay tribute to 'corona warriors'

The country's army, air force and navy organise events to show gratitude to healthcare workers and police

Indian military helicopters showered masked healthcare workers with rose petals on Sunday as the country's armed forces paid tribute to frontline workers battling the coronavirus pandemic.

In several states and territories across the nation of 1.3 billion people, fighter jets and transport aircraft took part in low-flying aerial salutes to the country's "corona warriors".

The tributes coincided with India's largest daily increase in confirmed infections, with 2,600 new cases taking the country's total to more than 40,000.

The death toll passed 1,300, with 83 deaths reported in the past 24 hours.

Among several gestures made on Sunday, petals were dropped on to the upturned faces of medical personnel clad in protective gear as an army band played patriotic songs such as Jai Ho (May Victory Prevail) from popular film Slumdog Millionaire.

"The entire nation stands united in these challenging times," India's Defence Minister Rajnath Singh tweeted.

He praised the "commendable work" of the "frontline warriors", including police officers who have enforced a nationwide lockdown since late March.

The navy was expected to illuminate its ships off the country's coast when night fell.

The military's tributes were the third public show of gratitude to healthcare staff and other frontline workers, after Indians took part in nationwide applause and lamp-lighting efforts called for by Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

The country's lockdown was extended for another two weeks by the government on Friday, although some restrictions were lifted in regions with fewer cases.

Updated: May 3, 2020 07:45 PM

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