India has emerged as a regional power and net security provider in the Indo-Pacific as its capacity to provide humanitarian assistance and disaster relief to its citizens as well as regional partners has grown in recent years, Defence Minister Rajnath Singh said on November 29.

“We have strengthened multilateral partnerships through engagement via regional mechanisms. This has improved interoperability, enabling faster response in crisis situations,” he said, speaking at the multi-agency Humanitarian Assistance and Disaster Relief (HADR) exercise ‘Samanvay 2022’ in Agra, Uttar Pradesh. He noted that Asia, particularly the Indo-Pacific region, is vulnerable to the impact of climate change.

The exercise is being conducted by the Indian Air Force at the Agra Air Force Station from November 28-30. In addition to various stakeholders within the country, representatives from the Association of South East Nations (ASEAN) nations are also attending the exercise.

Mr. Singh highlighted that prediction of natural disasters has to be accompanied by dissemination of information to a larger population and shifting people to safer locations, which requires an empowered machinery. As nations have different capacities, collaborative preparation to deal with disasters is required, he stressed.

India’s approach, after the formulation of the National Disaster Management Policy, has shifted in its focus from a relief-centric approach to a “multi-pronged” approach, including prevention, preparedness, mitigation, response, relief and rehabilitation, Mr. Singh added.