With natural disasters posing a major threat of disruption in South and Southeast Asia, India will host the first annual joint disaster management exercise under BIMSTEC (Bay of Bengal Initiative for Multi-Sectoral Technical and Economic Cooperation) from October 10 to 13. As a regional sub-grouping, BIMSTEC is picking up momentum after years of its potential remaining untapped.
“The exercise will have simulated scenarios in the areas of flood management and building collapse search and rescue including Table Top Exercise (TTX), Field Training Exercise (FTX) and an After Action Review (AAR)”, India’s External Affairs Ministry said in a statement. Delegates from the seven member nations including Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Myanmar, Nepal, Sri-Lanka and Thailand will participate in the event.
Inaugurating the 13th Formation Day of India’s National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA) about a week back, India’s Home Minister Rajnath Singh had expressed the need for concerted diplomatic efforts to mitigate the havoc caused by floods and the need for neighbouring countries to share hydrological data on rivers. The BIMSTEC joint exercise is expected to become an important platform to share the best practices on disaster risk reduction, strengthening regional response and coordination for disaster management. Firming emergency response with the effective utilization of the search and rescue teams for disaster relief will remain a priority.
With a rich and enviable natural and human resource base, it is imperative that the member nations find ways to successfully institutionalize cooperation on reducing the risks from disasters, whether natural or man-made.
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