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India lacks plan for global rescue: Study

‘Evacuation missions depend on quick-fix solutions’

January 07, 2017 12:38 am | Updated 01:13 am IST - NEW DELHI:

ALL set:  Preparations under way for the Bharatiya Pravasi Divas celebration at the Bengaluru International Exhibition Centre.

ALL set: Preparations under way for the Bharatiya Pravasi Divas celebration at the Bengaluru International Exhibition Centre.

The government’s plans for conducting emergency large-scale international evacuation is “ad hoc” and depends on “quick-fix solutions”, a major think tank paper has stated. The paper authored for Carnegie India has revealed that despite conducting nearly 30 international evacuations, South Block does not have a standard operating procedure (SOP) for such missions and continues to depend on individual sacrifices from civil aviation, military and diplomatic services.

“As more than 11 million Indians now reside abroad, and more than 20 million now travel abroad each year, the government will no longer be able to rely on heroic, ad hoc efforts and quick fix solutions,” said the author of the paper Constantino Xavier, pointing out the urgent need to craft an SOP on emergency evacuation.

Mr. Xavier’s paper which coincided with the Pravasi Bharatiya Divas (7-9 January, Bengaluru), stated that the U.S., the U.K., and the NATO have institutionalised non-combatant evacuation operations (NEO) doctrine. Among the developing countries, Brazil too has institutionalised an SOP. However, India is yet to do the needful even as public scrutiny increases on international crisis situations.

“When the lives and assets of Indians are at risk abroad, civil society organisations mobilise and lobby elected representatives and regional authorities to pressure the Central government to take a more proactive stance, which may hinder quiet diplomacy efforts … further endanger the safety of overseas Indians,” the paper said, cautioning that public scrutiny of ad hoc plans could jeopardise missions.

The paper has suggested that the government consider setting up quick reaction teams.

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