On December 20-22, 2021, the 3rd edition of multi-national – multi-agency exercise, PANEX-21, was organized at Pune (Maharashtra) to develop capabilities in Humanitarian Assistance and Disaster Relief (HADR) operations among BIMSTEC nations.
- BIMSTEC is an acronym for Bay of Bengal Initiative for Multi-Sectoral Technical and Economic Cooperation. It is an international organisation of seven South Asian and Southeast Asian nations comprising Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Nepal, Sri Lanka, Myanmar and Thailand.
- The inaugural address for this exercise was delivered by Lt Gen Jai Singh Nain, Army Commander, Southern Command at Armed Forces Medical College, Pune. Gen Manoj Mukund Naravane, Chief of Army Staff (COAS) also addressed over video conference.
It is being attended by delegates and subject matter experts from BIMSTEC nations along with subject matter experts like Dr Soumya Swaminathan, Chief Scientist WHO (World Health Organization), Dr. Vinod Kumar Paul, NITI (National Institution for Transforming India) Aayog amongst others attended the meet.
i.Discussions were held on various aspects related to conduct of effective humanitarian assistance and disaster relief operations during a natural disaster.
- Recommendations were also made upon the evolution of BIMSTEC joint response mechanism for Disaster Management.
ii.Emphasizes were laid upon preparing proper procedure and coordination amongst BIMSTEC nations in saving human lives.
iii.The exercise also focuses on reviewing the process of notification, preparedness and response mechanism.
iv.The culmination of the event was demonstrated by Indian Industries in association with FICCI (Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce & Industry) to showcase their capabilities, innovations and range of products to assist government agencies in planning, preparation and conduct of HADR operations.
It is a multi agency exercise including representation of experts from the Armed Forces, National Disaster Relief Force and other stakeholders, to fight the challenges of disaster management. The member states also promote their best practices for HADR operations.
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On September 2-4, 2021, the 3 days 28th Singapore-India Maritime Bilateral Exercise ‘SIMBEX 2021‘ was held between the Indian Navy and Republic of Singapore Navy (RSN) in the southern edge of the South China Sea. It was hosted by RSN as ‘at sea only’ i.e. without any physical interactions due to COVID-19.
About Bay of Bengal Initiative for Multi-Sectoral Technical and Economic Cooperation (BIMSTEC):
Established in 1997, initially it was known as BIST-EC (Bangladesh-India-Sri Lanka-Thailand Economic Cooperation). With the admission of Myanmar and Bhutan it became BIMSTEC.
Secretary General– Tenzin Lekphell
Secretariat– Dhaka, Bangladesh