- Curtain Raised over Humanitarian Assistance & Disaster Relief Exercise
New Delhi. 08 December 2021. A Curtain Raiser Event for Humanitarian Assistance and Disaster Relief exercise, PANEX-21, for the member nations of BIMSTEC countries, was held at Kothari Auditorium DRDO Bhawan, New Delhi on 07 Dec 2021. The exercise is planned to be conducted from 20-22 Dec 21 at Pune and will witness participation from subject matter experts and delegates from India, Bangladesh, Nepal, Bhutan, Myanmar, Sri Lanka and Thailand.
The event was presided over by Ajay Bhatt, hon’ble Raksha Rajya Mantri in the august presence of many distinguished civilian and military guests to include Mr Tenzin Lekphell, Secretary General, BIMSTEC, Chief of Defence Staff Gen Bipin Rawat, Chief of Army Staff Gen Manoj Mukund Naravane, Chief of Air Staff Air Chief Marshal VR Chaudhari, Chief of Naval Staff Admiral R Hari Kumar, Chief of Integrated Staff(CISC) Air Marshal BR Krishna and the High Commissioners and Ambassadors of the BIMSTEC Nations.
In his opening address the COAS, Gen MM Naravane, welcomed all the delegates of the member states to the event and urged them to utilize this opportunity to develop mechanisms for close transnational coordination to combat contingencies like the Pandemic in the future. The Chief of Defence Staff, Gen Bipin Rawat, in his talk on ‘Def Cooperation among BIMSTEC Nations’ highlighted the importance of drawing Common Legal Frameworks and setting up Information Sharing Mechanism to facilitate defence cooperation between security and judicial agencies of the member nations.During his address, MoS(Defence) Ajay Bhatt drew attention of the participants to the significance attached by India to the BIMSTEC, as part of our “Neighborhood First” policy. “The success of the last two BIMSTEC Disaster Management Exercises (DMEx-2017 at Delhi and DMEx-2020 at Puri) speak of the close coordination mechanism that the BIMSTEC nations share”, he said.
He mentioned that managing Natural Disasters in the backdrop of a viral pandemic creates complex risks which cannot be combated by any single agency, but needs a whole of the Nation approach. He highlighted the swift and coordinated rescue and relief operation which were launched in India despite rising number of COVID cases and ongoing National lockdown. Concerted efforts were made by all agencies &organisations involved in providing relief to the affected population and every national resource was employed to save precious lives and minimize losses of livestock, property and infrastructure. He also laid emphasis on joint strategy and cooperation in overcoming the pandemic situations such like COVID.
He urged the Nation states to evolve a comprehensive BIMSTEC structure for capability development and training and to have a regional pool of Disaster Management experts aided by institutional organisations, mechanism, protocols and legal frameworks for mobilizing resources for joint responses for disasters.
A poster commemorating the forthcoming Exercise was also unveiled by Mr Ajay Bhatt during the event. The exercise will witness conduct of a Seminar, Table Top Exercises & Multi Agency Exercise planned from 20 Dec to 22 Dec 21 at Pune. The culmination of the event will be with the capability demonstration by Indian Industries in association with FICCI to showcase their capabilities, innovations and range of products available to assist government agencies in planning, preparation and conduct of Humanitarian Assistance and Disaster Relief operations.