India to host the First South Asian Annual Disaster Management Exercise from Monday

India to host the First South Asian Annual Disaster Management Exercise from Monday 
The prevalent geo-climatic conditions as well as increased frequency of natural calamities in the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) Region, especially in the wake of the recent disasters in the region, calls for enhanced levels of preparedness and risk resilience as well as collaborative action amongst member countries to individually and jointly deal with such disaster situations to prevent loss of lives and assets. Prime Minister of India Shri Narendra Modi stated at the last (18th) SAARC Summit in Kathmandu on November 26, 2014 that India's expertise in Disaster Management would always be available to South Asia, and that, equally, as India reaches out to Indians caught in conflicts and disasters around the world, India would always be there for all South Asian citizens. 

The Government of India has taken the initiative to organize the first "South Asian Annual Disaster Management Exercise" (SAADMEx-2015) to provide a platform for strengthening Regional Disaster Response Mechanism amongst the SAARC countries. The main focus of SAADMEx-2015 is to test coordination efforts, create synergy and synchronize efforts to institutionalize Regional Cooperation on Disaster Response among the member countries. The Advance Coordination Conference (ACC) for this Exercise was successfully conducted with the participation of representatives from SAARC member countries on September 3-4, 2015 where the modalities and requirements of the common exercise were discussed.

The common exercise is going to commence from Monday, November 23, 2015 with the participation of delegations and rescuers from each of the eight SAARC Nations, - Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Maldives, Nepal, Pakistan and Sri Lanka. The Exercise will be conducted by the National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) in Delhi - National Capital Region. On the first day, during the Table Top sessions, different kinds of disaster situations will be simulated and individual and joint response measures will get discussed. On the second day, response for Collapsed Structure Search and Rescue (CSSR) will be carried out at Ghaziabad to demonstrate the CSSR capabilities of participating nations which will be followed by a demonstration on Chemical Emergency Response at Greater Noida on the third day. During the course of the exercise, various types of latest gadgets and equipments as well as varied Disaster Response skill sets will be demonstrated by the teams of the participating nations. On the last day, debriefing and After Action Review (AAR) will be conducted to gather important lessons learnt which would assist the countries to augment current and joint levels of disaster response and coordination.

Union Minister of State for Home Affairs Shri Kiren Rijiju will inaugurated the SAADMEx-2015 in New Delhi on Monday, November 23, 2015. Union Home Minister Shri Rajnath Singh will be the Chief Guest in the valedictory session on Thursday, November 26, 2015 to discuss the outcomes of the exercise and provide guidance for future improvement. Secretary General-SAARC, representatives from Embassies/High Commissions of SAARC Nations in Delhi, Union Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA), Ministry of External Affairs (MEA), National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA), NDRF, National Institute of Disaster Management (NIDM) and Senior Officials from the relevant Ministries will be attending the Exercise. Officials from the States, particularly from State Response organizations will be attending the SAADMEx as well.

The Joint Exercise will be followed by a day-long SAARC Regional Workshop on Sharing Best Practices on "Disaster Risk Reduction" due to be held in New Delhi on Friday, November 27, 2015. The Regional Workshop will be inaugurated by Dr. P.K. Mishra, Additional Principal Secretary to Prime Minister of India. This workshop is also an outcome of one of the announcements made at the Conference of Cabinet Secretaries of SAARC Nations.

The aim of the Regional workshop is to provide a platform to member countries for sharing best practices in the field of Disaster Risk Reduction (DRR), experience sharing on Nepal Earthquake of April, 2015 as well as deliberating upon the outcomes of the SAADMEx. The workshop will have senior officials from all SAARC Nations, relevant Ministries of Government of India and various State Governments. 

Joint Statement between the Ministry of Home Affairs and the Ministry of Public Security of the People’s Republic of China 
The Union Home Minister, Shri Rajnath Singh is on an official visit to China (Beijing and Shanghai) from 18 November to 23 November, 2015. During the visit the Premier of the State Council of China, Mr. Li Keqiang met Shri Rajnath Singh. The Member of the Political Bureau of Central Committee of the Communist Party of China and Secretary of the Political and Legal Affairs Commission of Central Committee of the Communist Party of China, Mr. Meng Jianzhu also met Shri Rajnath Singh. The State Councilor and Minister of Public Security of the People’s Republic of China, Mr. Guo Shengkun held talks with the Union Home Minister.

The two sides have agreed that the successful exchange of visits between the President of China, Mr. Xi Jinping in September 2014 to India and the Prime Minister, Shri Narendra Modi in May 2015 to China yielded important consensus to build a closer development partnership between the two countries, which provides the direction for the development of bilateral relations and created a favorable opportunity for the growth of India-China law enforcement cooperation. The two sides should take this opportunity to implement the important consensus reached by their leaders. The two sides will make efforts to constantly promote the mutual understanding and trust and carry out pragmatic law enforcement cooperation in order to maintain the security and stability in the region.

The two sides strongly condemned the recent terrorist attacks in Paris. They reiterated their strong condemnation of and resolute opposition to terrorism in all its forms and manifestations and committed themselves to cooperate on counter-terrorism.

The consensus reached by the two sides is as follows:

1. The two sides will further exchange high-level visits and establish India-China High Level Meeting Mechanism led by the Home Minister of India and the Minister of Public Security of China to be held in Beijing and Delhi once every two years. In the first half of 2016, Ministry of Public Security of China will send a Ministerial Delegation to visit India for the first meeting of this Mechanism.

2. In order to assist the Minister-level meeting mechanism, a Joint Secretary/Director General Level meeting mechanism led by the International Cooperation Departments of the two Ministries will be established. This mechanism will be held once a year, alternately in Beijing and New Delhi. The Ministry of Public Security of China will send a Director General level delegation to India and hold the first Director General-level annual meeting in 2016.

3. Both sides agreed to enhance cooperation in combating international terrorism through (a) exchanging information on terrorist activities, terrorist groups and their linkages; (b) exchanging experiences on anti-hijacking, hostage situations and other terrorism related crimes; (c) coordinating positions on anti-terrorism endeavors at regional and multilateral levels and supporting each other. Both sides agree to exchanges by groups of counter-terrorism experts to discuss counter-terrorism cooperation.

4. The two sides shall strengthen the cooperation in the fields of combating terrorism, drug-related crimes, cyber crimes including telecom fraud, economic crimes, illegal immigration activities, illegal trafficking in firearms and ammunition and other transnational crimes and encourage the long-term, healthy and stable development of law enforcement cooperation between them. Therefore, the two sides may exchange visits by groups of experts in relevant fields.

5. The two sides shall strengthen the exchanges and cooperation in the area of law enforcement capacity building. They will support and encourage participation in the training courses and seminars held by each side for the officers from both sides. In this way they can learn from each other and exchange the experiences on preventing and combating crimes and coping with non-traditional threats such as terrorism to strengthen their respective law enforcement capacity.

6. To further strengthen cooperation in law enforcement, the two sides will work towards signing of an official cooperation document between the two Ministries on combating crimes as soon as possible.

7. The Home Minister, Shri Rajnath Singh extended an invitation to State Councillor and Minister, Mr. Guo Shengkun to visit India at a mutually convenient time. Mr. Guo Shengkun accepted the invitation with pleasure. 

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