The Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh inaugurated the first Bay of Bengal Initiative for Multi-Sectoral Technical and Economic Cooperation Disaster Management Exercise (BIMSTEC DMEx-2017).
The Exercise is being conducted by the National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) as the lead agency from October 10-13, 2017 in Delhi and the National Capital Region (NCR).
At the 17th BIMSTEC Senior Officials Meeting held in Kathmandu, Nepal on February 7, 2017, it was decided that India would organize the first annual Disaster Management Exercise for the region.
Over the period 1996 to 2015, the BIMSTEC countries have lost 317,000 lives to disasters. In these disasters more than 16 million people in BIMSTEC countries have lost their homes and economic losses are also high and escalating.
The cyclone preparedness programme of Bangladesh is recognized as a global best practice and the last mile connectivity of Tsunami early warning system in Thailand has significantly improved preparedness in coastal areas.
India’s effective handling of Phailin and Hudhud in the recent past is the direct outcome of over a decade of policy initiatives and enhancement of early warning capabilities, advance preparation, training and capacity development.
India has established the Tsunami early Warning System for the Indian Ocean Rim Countries.
Prior to BIMSTEC, India has hosted joint bilateral exercises with SAARC countries and also hosted a joint meeting on disaster risk management of all the BRICS nations.
Last year India hosted the Asian Ministerial Conference for Disaster Risk Reduction.
In May this year India launched South Asia Geostationary Communication Satellite that will improve communication, weather forecasting, etc.
The first phase comprising a Preparatory Meeting was held in Delhi NCR on August 8-9, 2017, during which the modalities for this exercise were discussed.
This exercise will provide a platform to member countries to share best practices and coordination for disaster management among BIMSTEC nations. This is an opportunity to review and discuss the disaster management plans.
This exercise will facilitate the regional cooperation for effective disaster response.
BIMSTEC region has over one fifth of world’s population and development of BIMSTEC countries is crucial for the development of world as a whole.
During the four-day exercise, all seven BIMSTEC nations i.e. – Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Myanmar, Nepal, Sri Lanka and Thailand will share their experiences in the varied fields of disaster, training and its mitigation.
Various events during the exercise include a Table Top Exercise after the inaugural session to provide participants with an opportunity to review and discuss disaster response plans and sharing of best practices of one nation with the other.
Other exercises such as Joint Field Training Exercise on earthquake disaster at Ghaziabad, Joint Field Training Exercise on Flood Rescue at Wazirabad will also be conducted.