NEW DELHI: Defence Minister Rajnath Singh on Wednesday said that the country’s Armed Forces have time and again demonstrated that they care for and stand by the country’s partners in times of need without distinguishing between natural or man-made disasters.
While virtually inaugurating the fifth World Congress on Disaster Management here, Rajnath Singh reiterated India’s vision for the Indian Ocean encapsulated by the concept of SAGAR (Security and Growth for All in the Region) as articulated by Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
The Defence Minister underlined that SAGAR has both distinct and inter-related elements such as deepening economic and security cooperation among the littoral states; enhancing capacities to safeguard land and maritime territories; working towards sustainable regional development; Blue Economy and promoting collective action to deal with non-traditional threats like natural disasters, piracy and terrorism.
As per a press release of the Ministry of Defence, Rajnath Singh maintained that while each of these elements requires equal attention, developing an effective response mechanism to address humanitarian crises and natural disasters is one of the most important pillars of SAGAR.
“India’s engagement with the world and especially the Indian Ocean Region (IOR) has been robustly strong,” he said while lauding the Armed Forces for being the first responders in the region for Humanitarian Aid and Disaster Relief (HADR) operations.
“India’s unique position in the IOR, complemented by a capability of the Armed Forces, enables it to contribute significantly in HADR situations,” he said.
As per the release, the Defence Minister Rajnath Singh made special mention of some notable HADR missions in the IOR undertaken by India in recent years, including Operation Rahat in Yemen in 2015 when India rescued and evacuated over 6,700 persons, including over 1,940 citizens of more than 40 other countries.
He also mentioned cyclone in Sri Lanka in 2016, earthquake in Indonesia in 2019, Cyclone Idai in Mozambique and flooding and landslides in Madagascar in January 2020 where Indian assistance was promptly provided.
Singh added that the COVID-19 pandemic has not dented India’s commitment, which was demonstrated by India’s response during the Oil Spill in Mauritius in August 2020 and Oil tanker fire in Sri Lanka in September 2020.
Rajnath Singh also shared his views on the challenging geo-political landscape and the traditional and non-traditional threats including natural calamities like COVID-19 faced by the world.
“To deal with the pandemic, India has developed a large capacity for production of COVID-19 vaccines and is extending help to many countries,” he said.
Singh emphasised the need for a collective solution to deal with global challenges in the post-pandemic world. “The pandemic has reaffirmed the centrality of multilateralism in the interconnected world for matters not only related to international security but also disaster management,” he said. (ANI)