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India has emerged as a net security provider in Indo-Pacific: Rajnath Singh

AGRA, UP (PTI): Defence Minister Rajnath Singh on Tuesday said India has emerged as a regional power and net security provider in the Indo-Pacific with the country's capacity to provide humanitarian assistance and disaster relief to its citizens as well as partners growing in recent years.

Singh attended the multi-agency Humanitarian Assistance and Disaster Relief (HADR) exercise 'Samanvay 2022' being conducted at Air Force Station here during November 28-30.

The defence minister noted that under SAGAR (Security and Growth for All in the Region) envisioned by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, India is cooperating with multiple partners to ensure economic growth and 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.

He pointed out that Asia, particularly the Indo-Pacific region, is vulnerable to the impact of climate change, and expressed confidence that the participation of friendly nations in the 'Samanvay 2022' will further enhance disaster management capabilities.

Rajnath Singh highlighted that prediction of natural disasters has to be accompanied by the 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, he stressed.

He called upon the nations to 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," he added.

Rajnath Singh emphasised that harnessing diverse capabilities and using expertise and new technologies decrease the impact of natural disasters.

India's robust HADR mechanism which has effectively provided relief both in India and other nations and the 'Make in India' initiative of the Government has strengthened this structure, he said.

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, he added.

Singh applauded the assistance of the Indian armed forces to civil administration during HADR operations and their role in important 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.

He also commended the role of the National Disaster Response Force and State Disaster Response Forces during relief operations.

"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," he said.

He hailed 'Samanvay 2022' for bringing together various agencies involved in HADR activities in order to formulate a joint approach to tackle future natural disasters.

He emphasised that strengthening the disaster relief mechanism is essential for overall development. He expressed gratitude to the representatives of friendly nations for their participation and complimented the Indian Air Force for organising the exercise.

Chief of Defence Staff General (CDS) Anil Chauhan, Chief of Air Staff Air Chief Marshal VR Chaudhari and other senior civil and military officials were present on the occasion.

Earlier, the defence minister attended the capability demonstration events during the exercise, which included an aerial display featuring SU-30 aircraft, transport aircraft and helicopters.

He also visited the static display of HADR assets of various organisations, which showcased India's growing disaster management capabilities.

Representatives from ASEAN nations and various national and regional stakeholders involved in Disaster Management including Civil Administration, Armed Forces, National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA), National Institute of Disaster Management (NIDM), Border Roads Organisation (BRO) and India Meteorological Department (IMD) are attending the exercise.

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