Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s proposal for a joint drill by the disaster response personnel of the South Asian nations received support from his Bangladesh counterpart Sheikh Hasina on Wednesday.
Hasina extended her support to the proposal when she had a meeting with Modi during her short visit to New Delhi to attend the funeral of Suvra Mukherjee, wife of President Pranab Mukherjee.
Modi is understood to have told Hasina that the National Disaster Management Authority of India would like to step up cooperation with agencies responsible for responding natural calamities in Bangladesh and other South Asian nations.
He also told Hasina that the personnel of the National Disaster Response Force of India and similar agencies of other South Asian nations could also share best practices in dealing with natural calamities and hold a joint exercise.
Hasina, according to the sources, extended support to the proposals mooted by Modi.
She said that his proposals were very relevant as South Asian nations were all prone to natural calamities.
Modi first mooted the proposal when his Pakistani counterpart Nawaz Sharif called him just a few days after a high-intensity earthquake devastated Nepal on April 25.
Modi told Sharif that the Saarc countries should conduct regular joint exercises on disaster relief and rescue.
Sharif appreciated the idea and told Modi that it should be taken up.
New Delhi was very quick to respond to Kathmandu’s call for help after the earthquake had devastated much of Nepal.
The ‘Operation Maitri’ launched by New Delhi to rescue and provide relief to the victims had won hearts across Nepal – one of the theatres of India’s geo-strategic rivalry with China.
India recently also responded to requests for disaster relief support from Myanmar, which was hit by widespread flood and landslides after the Cyclone Komen.