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NEW DELHI : India has emerged as a regional power and net security provider in the Indo-Pacific, said Union Defence Minister Rajnath Singh. 

Addressing the Humanitarian Assistance and Disaster Relief (HADR) exercise ‘Samanvay 2022’ in Agra, the minister said that India’s capacity to provide humanitarian assistance and disaster relief to its citizens and regional partners have grown in recent years. 

Singh added that under SAGAR (Security and Growth for All in the Region) envisioned by Prime Minister Modi, India is cooperating with multiple partners to ensure economic growth & security in the region while tackling threats such as natural disasters. “We have strengthened multilateral partnerships through engagement via regional mechanisms. This has improved interoperability enabling faster response in crisis situations." 

He said that Asia, particularly the Indo-Pacific region is vulnerable to the impact of climate change. “The prediction of natural disasters has to be accompanied by dissemination of information to a larger population and shifting people to safer locations, which requires an empowered machinery. As nations have different capacities, collaborative preparation to deal with disasters is required." 

The minister added that the nations should come together in dealing with natural disasters by sharing resources, equipment and training. “In HADR, there is a need to share information for regional cooperation and best practices." 

Singh said that harnessing diverse capabilities, and using expertise and new technologies enable us to decrease the impact of natural disasters. “With the increasing frequency of climate-related disasters, it is essential for HADR teams of different nations to come together on a single platform." 

He added that India’s robust HADR mechanism has effectively provided relief both in India and other nations. “The ‘Make in India’ initiative of the government has strengthened this structure. India’s approach after the formulation of the National Disaster Management Policy has shifted focus from a relief-centric approach to a ‘multi-pronged’ approach including prevention, preparedness, mitigation, response, relief and rehabilitation." 

The minister said that the Indian Armed Forces has made a lot of contributions from assistance to civil administration during HADR operations. “They have played important role in HADR missions in the Indo-Pacific region, such as Operation Rahat in 2015 and relief operations in Sri Lanka, Nepal, Indonesia, Mozambique, Maldives and Madagascar. Armed forces, Central Armed Police Forces, District Revenue Administration, State Police and capable NGOs have come together to transform India’s capacity to recover from crises and tackle them in the future." 

Singh added that ‘Samanvay 2022’ brings together various agencies involved in HADR activities in order to formulate a joint approach to tackle future natural disasters. “Strengthening the disaster relief mechanism is essential for overall development." 

The exercise is being conducted by the Indian Air Force at Agra, Air Force Station from 28-30 November, 2022.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Swati Luthra

Swati Luthra writes on climate change, water, environment and forest issues for Mint. A graduate in Psychology, Swati has been mapping India’s policy initiatives to help meet the pledges made at CoP-26 including achieving net-zero carbon emissions by 2070.
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