PUNE: The Humanitarian Assistance and Disaster Relief Exercise PANEX-21 which was held at Pune from 20-22 Dec 2021 concluded today. On the final day a Table Top Exercise was conducted to brain storm various aspects related to challenges faced, envisaged contingencies and mitigation measures in conduct of humanitarian assistance and disaster relief operations in backdrop of a pandemic. The three days exercise witnessed participation from the senior officials from BIMSTEC countries, government officials and subject matter experts as speakers. PANEX-21 also involved the equipment capability demonstration by the Indian Industries in tackling any future pandemic like situations. The Static display highlighted the expertise achieved by India in handling HADR operations ranging from early warning, reconnaissance through Remotely Piloted Vehicles (RPVs), Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs), Satellite, softwares mapping disaster affected areas, resource management softwares, establishing command control centres like Incident Command Post (ICP) etc. It also exhibited the capability of the private Indian Defence Industry with a display of over 250 items customized to deal with the common security concerns of South and South East Asia. The exercise also included the witness of Multi Agency Exercise by Hon’ble Raksha Mantri Shri Rajnath Singh alongwith release of compendium.
During the Table Top Exercise, various contingencies were discussed by all stake holders who were divided into syndicates. Each syndicate presented its methodology of conduct of joint humanitarian assistance and disaster relief operations, protocols for operating under pandemic conditions and infusion of technology and available resources to undertake such operations. The experience gained during Seminar and Multi Agency Exercise was optimally employed during the Table Top Exercise. The exercise also provided an ideal platform to share best practices to achieve enhanced preparedness and effective response mechanism. Important lessons on capability development, training and regional pooling of resources were also brought out after these intriguing sessions.
The role of Armed forces as a skilled force and at times first responders to disaster situations was also discussed during the exercise. During the table top exercise it mutually agreed that protocols must be evolved for military-to-military cooperation to develop regional trans-national response mechanism. While addressing participants of the table top exercise, Lt Gen JS Nain, GOC-in-C, Southern Command articulated the need for a frame work, information sharing mechanism and protocols for cooperation amongst BIMSTEC nations to overcome common challenges of disasters. The exercise was hugely successful and lessons learnt during the same will go in a long way to develop joint protocols among the BIMSTEC nations.