New Delhi, 14th March. India has emerged first responder in Humanitarian Assistance and Disaster Relief (HADR) at global level, said Chief of Defence Staff General Anil Chauhan, in his virtual message to a Workshop on Humanitarian Assistance, Disaster Relief, Risk Mitigation and Disaster Resilience organised under the aegis of Integrated Defence Staff (IDS), Ministry of Defence today on 14th March, 2023 at New Delhi. The workshop was organized as part of India’s Chairmanship of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) and was attended by speakers from Kazakhstan, Kyrgyz Republic, Belarus, Mongolia, Pakistan and China along with speaker from Russia in the virtual mode.
“In keeping with our cultural beliefs of Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam – the whole world is one family, India has been playing an important role in providing HADR in the region and beyond”, he added, citing the instances such as Operation Maitri – rescue operations during earthquake in Nepal, Assistance to Sri Lanka in 2016 during Cyclone Roanu, earthquake in Indonesia in 2018, flooding in Madagascar in January 2020, Supply of Vaccines during the COVID 19 pandemic etc. He further said that timely launch of Operation Dost following the recent earthquake in Turkiye is a testimony to India’s willingness to extend help to all possible corners of the globe.
The CDS further added that collective approach is essential to mitigate the consequences of disasters and with this objective India has been holding multilateral exercises with various countries and multi-lateral organisations such as the HADR exercise PANEX 21 for BIMSTEC members at Pune in 2021, SMANVAY 22 for ASEAN members at Agra in 2022 etc. “By strengthening multilateral partnerships through engagement via regional mechanisms, improved interoperability, and faster response, we have played our role as the first responder in the region” he said.
CDS further said that Armed forces along with dedicated organizational structure are often the first responders in the event of any disaster. The ability to work in hostile environment, organizational skills and logistics know-hows make the Armed Forces most suited for HADR operations.
Air Marshal BR Krishna, Chief of Integrated Defence Staff to the Chairman, Chiefs of Staff Committee inaugurated the workshop. He urged the member states to develop capability and capacities of their national organizations to make them capable of mitigating loss of life and property during natural calamities.
The objective of the workshop on Humanitarian Assistance and Disaster Relief (HADR) is to exchange information and share the best practices on risk reduction and resilience, integration of Armed Forces in a regional response and disaster infrastructure and for promoting global collaboration among SCO members. The main goals of SCO are strengthening mutual trust and neighborliness among the member states, promoting the effective cooperation in politics, trade, economy, technology and culture as well as in education, energy, transport, tourism, environmental protection and other areas. Making joint efforts to maintain and ensure peace, security and stability in the region and moving towards the establishment of a democratic, fair and rational new international political and economic order.