India has emerged as the first responder in Humanitarian Assistance and Disaster Relief (HADR) efforts at the global level, said Chief of Defence Staff General Anil Chauhan in his virtual message to a workshop on humanitarian assistance, disaster relief, risk mitigation and disaster resilience as part of India’s chairmanship of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) which also saw the participation of officials from Pakistan and China .
“By strengthening multilateral partnerships through engagement via regional mechanisms, improved interoperability, and faster response, we have played our role as the first responder in the region,” Gen. Chauhan said. The workshop organised under the aegis of Integrated Defence Staff on Tuesday was attended by speakers from Kazakhstan, Kyrgyz Republic, Belarus, Mongolia, Pakistan and China along with a speaker from Russia in the virtual mode, a Defence Ministry statement said.
The objective of the workshop on HADR was to exchange information and share the best practices on risk reduction and resilience, integration of armed forces in a regional response and disaster infrastructure and for promoting global collaboration among SCO members, the statement said.
Gen. Chauhan said that India had been playing an important role in providing HADR in the region and beyond and cited instances such as Operation Maitri, rescue operations during earthquake in Nepal, assistance to Sri Lanka in 2016 during Cyclone Roanu, earthquake in Indonesia in 2018, flooding in Madagascar in January 2020 and supply of vaccines during the COVID-19 pandemic. He further stated that the timely launch of Operation Dost following the recent earthquake in Turkey was a testimony to India’s willingness to extend help to all possible corners of the globe.
In this regard, Gen. Chauhan added that the armed forces along with dedicated organisational structures were often the first responders in the event of any disaster and their ability to work in hostile environment, organisational skills and logistics know-hows made them most suited for HADR operations.