NEW DELHI: India’s National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) is going to conduct a disaster management exercise next month in New Delhi with BIMSTEC countries, the Home Ministry said on Wednesday.

The exercise, to be conducted between October 10-13 and acronymed as BIMSTEC DMEx-2017, is the first such exercise aimed at strengthening disaster management in South Asia.
“This exercise will be a platform for sharing best practices on all aspects of disaster risk reduction, strengthening regional response and coordination for disaster management among the BIMSTEC member countries,” a Home Ministry release said.

The Bay of Bengal Initiative for Multi-Sectoral Technical and Economic Cooperation (BIMSTEC) involves Bangladesh, India, Myanmar, Sri Lanka, Thailand, Bhutan and Nepal.

Delegates from all seven nations and representatives from embassies/high commissions and senior officials from the nodal ministries will participate in the event.
“The main focus of the BIMSTEC DMEx-2017 will be on testing the region’s preparedness and resilience towards effective activation of inter-governmental interaction/dialogue/agreements for immediate deployment of regional resources for disaster response,” the release said.
“It will help create synergy and synchronise efforts to institutionalize regional cooperation among the member countries. The exercise will help strengthen the effective utilization of the search and rescue teams for disaster relief and emergency response, especially in situations involving breakdown of infrastructure and communication,” it added.

At the end of the four-day exercise, a publication will be brought out on the outcomes and recommendations of the joint exercise and include agreement among BIMSTEC nations on regional cooperation for disaster management, it said.

This would be presented to the BIMSTEC leaders at the Summit to be hosted by Nepal later this year.
The BIMSTEC DMEx-2017 will be conducted in two phases in Delhi and its suburbs. The main exercise will comprise of Table Top Exercise (TTX), Field Training Exercise (FTX) and After Action Review (AAR).

The BIMSTEC region is home to around 1.5 billion people, constituting around 22 per cent of the global population with a combined GDP of US $2.7 trillion.

The majority of BIMSTEC countries, situated in South Asia, are prone to natural disasters such as floods, cyclones, earthquakes, avalanches and drought.

At the 17th BIMSTEC, senior officials held a meeting in Kathmandu on February 7 this year where it was decided that India would organise the first annual disaster management exercise for the region.