BIMSTEC DISASTER MANAGEMENT EXERCISE 2020
Context: Field Training Exercise of 2nd BIMSTEC Disaster Management Exercise on flood rescue was inaugurated by Minister of State for Home Affairs, Shri Nityanand Rai at the Ramachandi Beach, Puri (Odisha).
Delegates & rescue teams of five member nations namely- India, Bangladesh, Nepal, Sri Lanka & Myanmar, of BIMSTEC group participated in this exercise. KEY INFORMATION
- In order to bring in a feel of real disaster scenario, “simulated exercise sites including villages & Heritage Site (Konark Sun Temple)” were set up at Ramachandi Beach in Puri to depict flooded localities and houses due to the flood disaster.
- Flood disaster was painted due to cyclone followed by heavy rainfall. A large number of people were presumed to be stranded within the simulated villages and also the cyclone adversely affected a cultural heritage site.
- BIMSTEC member countries offered assistance to the Govt. of India for the flood rescue &relief operation. Govt. of India accepted the assistance offered by BIMSTEC member nations and thus participated in this joint field exercise.
- A Heli-born rescue operation was carried out to demonstrate the coordination among various stakeholders to deal with emergency situation.
- Relief activities such as providing medical care to the needy, distribution of food packets etc. were also simultaneously shown in a very coordinated and professional manner.
- For this Exercise, a Communication Centre, Emergency Operation Centre (EOC), Base of Operation, Medical Camp, Facilitation Centre, Media Enclave etc. were established by the NDRF as per the International Search & Rescue Advisory Group (INSARAG) guidelines for familiarization & exercise purpose.
- This Joint Field Training Exercise was conducted under the leadership of , Director General, NDRF Shri Satya Narayan Pradhan by NDRF officials. International observers from ICCROM, INSARAG, UNDP also attended the exercise.
BIMSTEC stands for Bay of Bengal Initiative for Multi-Sectoral Technical and Economic Cooperation. It is an international organisation of 7 nations of South Asia and South East Asia, housing 1.5 billion people and having a combined gross domestic product of $3.5 trillion (2018). The BIMSTEC member states includes—Bangladesh, India, Myanmar, Sri Lanka, Thailand , Nepal and Bhutan. These are among those countries dependent on the Bay of Bengal. 14 priority sectors of cooperation have been identified and several BIMSTEC centres have been established to focus on those sectors. Further, a BIMSTEC free trade agreement is under negotiation which is also referred to as mini SAARC. BACKGROUND: On 6 June 1997, a new sub-regional grouping was formed in Bangkok under the name BIST-EC (Bangladesh, India, Sri Lanka, and Thailand Economic Cooperation). Following the inclusion of Myanmar on 22 December 1997 during a special Ministerial Meeting in Bangkok, the Group was renamed ‘BIMST-EC’ (Bangladesh, India, Myanmar, Sri Lanka and Thailand Economic Cooperation). In 1998, Nepal became an observer. In February 2004, Nepal and Bhutan become full members. On 31 July 2004, in the first Summit, the grouping was renamed as BIMSTEC or the Bay of Bengal Initiative for Multi-Sectoral Technical and Economic Cooperation. MAJOR SECTORS OF COOPERATION: There are 14 main sectors of BIMSTEC along technological and economic cooperation among south Asian and southeast Asian countries along the coast of the Bay of Bengal. These are:
- Trade & Investment (Lead Country: BANGLADESH)
- Transport & Communication (Lead Country: INDIA)
- Energy (Lead Country: MYANMAR)
- Tourism (Lead Country: INDIA)
- Technology (Lead Country: SRI LANKA)
- Fisheries (Lead Country: THAILAND)
- Agriculture (Lead Country: MYANMAR)
- Public Health (Lead Country: THAILAND)
- Poverty Alleviation (Lead Country: NEPAL)
- Counter-Terrorism & Transnational Crime (Lead Country: INDIA)
- Environment & Disaster Management (Lead Country: INDIA)
- People-to-People Contact (Lead Country: THAILAND)
- Cultural Cooperation (Lead Country: BHUTAN)
- Climate Change (Lead Country: BANGLADESH)
NOTE: Sectors 7 to 13 were added at the 8th Ministerial Meeting in Dhaka in 2005 while the 14th sector was added in 11th Ministerial Meeting in New Delhi in 2008. BIMSTEC Permanent Secretariat: At Dhaka, opened in 2014 and India provides 33% (65% of region’s population) of its expenditure. Current Secretary General of BIMSTEC is Ambassador Mohammad Shahidul Islam from Bangladesh and former Secretary General was Sumith Nakandala from Srilanka. BIMSTEC FREE TRADE AREA NETWORK BIMSTEC Free Trade Area Framework Agreement (BFTAFA) has been signed by all member nations to stimulate trade and investment in the parties, and attract outsiders to trade with and invest in BIMSTEC at a higher level. BIMSTEC Coastal Shipping Agreement draft was discussed on 1 December 2017 at New Delhi, to facilitate coastal shipping within 20 nautical miles of the coastline in the region to boost trade between the member countries. Once the agreement becomes operational after it is ratified, a lot of cargo movement between the member countries can be done through the cost effective, environment friendly and faster coastal shipping routes. In 7-8th November 2019, First BIMSTEC Conclave of Ports, Vishakhapatnam was organised with the primary aims to provide a platform to strengthen maritime interaction, port-led connectivity initiatives and sharing best practices among Member Countries. BIMSTEC SUMMITS
- FIRST: On 31 July 2004, hosted by Thailand with Bangkok as Host City.
- SECOND: On 13 November 2008, hosted by India with New Delhi as Host City.
- THIRD: On 4 March 2014, hosted by Myanmar with Naypyidaw as Host City.
- FOURTH: On 30, 31 August 2018, hosted by Nepal with Kathmandu as Host City.
- FIFTH: To be held in 2022, to be hosted by Sri Lanka with Colombo as Host City.
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