Date : 10th October 2017 Time : 1730 hrs

Today, Union Home Minister Shri Rajnath Singh inaugurated the first ‘Bay of Bengal Initiative for Multi-Sectoral Technical and Economic Cooperation, Disaster Management Exercise (BIMSTEC DMEx- 2017)’ at Hotel The Ashok, New Delhi in the presence of the delegation & response teams of all seven BIMSTEC member nations- i.e Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Myanmar, Nepal, Sri Lanka and Thailand. On the initiative of the Govt. of India, first BIMSTEC DMEx 2017 is being conducted by National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) from 10th to 13th October 2017 in Delhi and NCR. Over 150 delegates of BIMSTEC member nations are participating in this mega event.

During his inaugural address, the Union Home Minister of India said that, in terms of increasing the number of extreme weather events- floods, drought, heat waves and cyclone- the future is not going to be any better and the frequency and intensity of such events is likely to rise in view of the climate change. He said that improved disaster preparedness is a corner stone of this efforts and in this direction all the BIMSTEC nations have made significant progress over the last two decade. He said that India has always been at the forefront of Disaster Risk Reduction by hosting the South Asian Annual Disaster Management Exercise (SAADMEx) in the year 2015 and the Asian Ministerial Conference for Disaster Risk Reduction (AMCDRR) in the year 2016. It is a great opportunity for India to host the first BIMSTEC Disaster Management Exercise, which will prove to be another milestone in the field of disaster preparedness, mitigation and regional cooperation among the BIMSTEC nations. He said that India has established the Tsunami early warning System for Indian Ocean Rim countries. He emphasized the need for all round mutual support among the BIMSTEC nations in the field of Disaster Management and in synergizing the efforts for effective early warning system, training, disaster response and capacity building. Home Minister said that launching of the South Asian Geostationary satellite in the month of May 2017 for the better communication, weather forecasting etc amongst the member nations in the field of disaster management has been a historic event in this chain of co-operation. He also quoted the examples of the preparedness in India before the Cyclones such as Phailin and Hud-Hud in which the loss/damage could be minimized by almost 45% compared to earlier disasters. Though disaster can’t be prevented, but they can certainly be managed so as to minimize loss of lives, livelihood systems and damage to infrastructure. He asserted to strengthen the regional response amongst the member countries and that could be possible by adapting new approaches, with the amalgamation of expertise and technology.

Welcoming the delegates Shri Sanjay Kumar, Director General, NDRF highlighted the disaster vulnerability of BIMSTEC nations. He said that conducting such kind of Disaster Management Exercise among BIMSTEC nations on regular basis is need of the hour. This will also help in developing better mechanism for tackling disasters and also in minimizing its impact. He said that this exercise will offer a platform for sharing the best practices on comprehensive aspects of disaster risk reduction, strengthening regional response and coordination for disaster management amongst the BIMSTEC nation and will act as a bridge between South and South–East Asia. He also called upon the delegates to participate in the Field Training exercises with their optimum response skills. This is an opportunity to review and discuss the disaster management plan and sharing of best practices with each other. He further asserted that, regional organizations in BIMSTEC region can play an important role in disaster response, as they have unparalleled knowledge of local conditions and prior relationships with national decision makers.

Mr. M Shahidul Islam, Secretary General, BIMSTEC expressed his gratitude to the Govt of India for organizing this mega exercise with BIMSTEC group of nations. He also expressed happiness at the fact that this exercise is being organized when BIMSTEC has completing 20 years. He said that disaster management is of high priority bay of Bengal region is one of the most vulnerable to disasters.he further said that various structural and non structural systems have been put in place which has reduced the human loss. Smt Preeti Saran, Secretary (East), Ministry of External Affairs, said that BIMSTEC region has over one fifth of world’s population and development of BIMSTEC countries is crucial for development of whole world. She said that sharing information, joint actions and capacity building are important and this exercise is step in this direction.
After the inaugural session, a Table Top Exercise was conducted in which various moves and scenarios of disaster management were discussed by the country delegates. The purpose of this Table Top Exercise was to provide participants with an opportunity to review and discuss disaster response plans & sharing of best practices of one nation with the other.
The BIMSTEC Disaster Management Exercise will continue upto 13thOctober 2017 starting from today. In the coming days, the delegates from the member nations will be sharing their experiences in the varied fields of disaster, training and its mitigation.
Highlights of the Events:

On 10th Oct 2017 a Table Top Exercise was conducted at Hotel Ashok after the inaugural session.

On 11th October 2017 Joint Field Training Exercise on earthquake disaster will be conducted at NTH Complex, Kamla Nehru Nagar, Ghaziabad. Further.

On 12th October 2017, Joint Field Training Exercise on Flood Rescue will be conducted at Wazirabad, Delhi.

On 13th October 2017, an After Action Review (AAR), De-briefing as well as Closing Session of the exercise will be organized at the Hotel Ashok, Chankyapuri, New Delhi.

Representatives from Embassies/High Commission of BIMSTEC nations in Delhi, MHA, MEA, NDMA, NDRF, SDRF, Head of the Central Armed Police Force, Senior Officers of Army, Air Force, Senior Officials from relevant Ministries and state representatives attended the inaugural session at the Hotel Ashok, New Delhi.

Issued By :- PR Cell, NDRF HQ, New Delhi